Bringing or Defending a Civil Case
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II. Matters to be considered before starting a civil action

You may need to spend considerable time and money in bringing and concluding a civil action. You may not always be able to obtain what you want at the end, and you may be held responsible for the other party's huge legal costs if you lose. Hence, you should consider very carefully before you decide to start a civil action, and it is generally advisable for you to first obtain legal advice to guide your decision. If you are not be able to afford the legal costs, you may consider trying to obtain some free or subsidised legal services provided by the Legal Aid Department, Duty Lawyer Service or the Hong Kong Bar Association.

The following questions may assist your decision as to whether or not to start a civil action to resolve your dispute:

  1. Can I settle the dispute without going to court?
  2. Do I have sufficient legal basis to start a civil action? Will it be possible for my opponent to sue me back in respect of the same case?
  3. How and where can I get legal advice or representation (including free or subsidised legal assistance)?
  4. Can I obtain what I want if I win the case?
  5. Can I afford the expenses?
  6. Can I afford the time?
  7. Is there any deadline for starting a civil action?
  8. What risks will I face if I start a civil action? Am I prepared to bear these risks?

The above considerations are by no means exhaustive. You should also take into account the unavoidable element of hostility, the chance that your action may not succeed, and the inevitable mental and physical strain, when considering whether it is worth your while to begin a legal action.

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