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Pilot scheme on free legal advice for litigants in person to launch next Monday (with photos)

     The Home Affairs Bureau will launch a two-year pilot scheme to provide free legal advice for litigants in person (LIPs) next Monday (March 18) to assist LIPs who have commenced or are parties to legal proceedings in the District Court or higher courts and have not been granted legal aid.

     The Chairman of the Steering Committee on the Provision of Legal Advice for Litigants in Person, Mr Justice Pang Kin-kee, today (March 14) briefed more than 30 barristers and solicitors enrolled as the scheme's community lawyers on the details of the scheme.

     Mr Justice Pang said, "The scheme is fully supported by the Judiciary. With the number of LIPs growing in recent years, we hope that the pilot scheme will help to provide them with the necessary assistance and advice in following legal procedures and help ease the pressure on judicial time and resources.

     "We also hope the scheme will further promote the pro bono culture in the legal profession in Hong Kong."

     The scheme will provide eligible LIPs with free legal advice on civil procedural matters concerning different stages of court proceedings. Depending on the case complexity, eligible LIPs will be offered quick advice sessions and appointment advice sessions of up to 15 minutes and 45 minutes respectively. In general, an LIP can attend up to five quick or appointment advice sessions every three months for the same case.

     Eligible applicants should have commenced or be parties to legal proceedings in the District Court, the Court of First Instance or the Court of Appeal of the High Court, or the Court of Final Appeal. They should have a monthly income of not more than $50,000 or an annual income below $600,000. The income of the applicant's spouse, where applicable, will be counted towards the limit, unless the spouse is the opposite party of the proceedings or the applicant and the spouse are living separate and apart.

     Apart from recruiting community lawyers, the pilot scheme's office is headed by a legally qualified Centre-in-charge, and supported by two resident lawyers. Some 110 law students of local universities have also been recruited as volunteers to assist in its operation.

     The Steering Committee will oversee the operation of the scheme. Upon completion of the two-year pilot, the Steering Committee will advise the Home Affairs Bureau on the future provision of legal advice for LIPs in the light of the operational experience.

     Applications must be submitted in person to the pilot scheme's office at Room LG217, LG2, High Court Building, 38 Queensway, Hong Kong. The office is open from 8.45am to 1pm and 2pm to 6pm from Mondays to Fridays, except public holidays.

     For details of the scheme, please visit For enquiries, please call 2259 5017.

Ends/Thursday, March 14, 2013
Issued at HKT 19:32


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