Financial Resources

How are financial resources calculated?

Financial resources are calculated by adding together the applicant's disposable capital and yearly disposable income according to the Legal Aid (Assessment of Resources and Contributions) Regulations. If the applicant is married, the spouse's income and capital will be treated as the applicant's for calculating the financial resources unless they have already separated or divorced, or they have conflicting interest in the proceedings. Other family members' income or assets will not be taken in account.

If the applicant is receiving assistance under the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance Scheme administered by the Director of Social Welfare, it is generally presumed that his financial resources do not exceed $38,391.25 (unless there is evidence to the contrary).

If the applicant is applying for Legal Aid on behalf of his child under 18 years old, only the child's assets and income will be assessed.

What is disposable capital?

Disposable capital consists of all the applicant's assets of a capital nature, such as cash, bank savings, jewellery, antiques, stocks and shares, flats and properties. But it does not include the value of the applicant's residential flat, his household furniture, personal clothing and tools of trade. It also does not include any assets which are the subject matter of disputes in the proceedings for which Legal Aid is applied.

The value of any outstanding debt or liability of the applicant cannot be taken into account in reducing the applicant's disposable capital (unless the applicant has actually repaid it before the application for Legal Aid).

If the applicant is married, the spouse's disposable capital will be treated as the applicant's unless they have already separated or divorced, or they have conflicting interest in the proceedings. Other family members' assets will not be taken in account.

If the applicant has reached the age of 60, an amount of capital equal to the financial eligibility limit of the Ordinary Legal Aid Scheme, i.e. $307,130, will not be counted as his/her capital.

What is disposable income?

Disposable income is the net income after various allowable deductions eg. rent or mortgage repayments in respect of the applicant's residential flat, rates, tax, maintenance (alimony) payable to ex-spouse or children, statutory personal allowances for the applicant and his dependants, and expenses for the provision for the care of dependants who cannot take care of themselves while the applicant is at work.

If the applicant is married, the spouse's disposable income will be treated as the applicant's unless they have already separated or divorced, or they have conflicting interest in the proceedings. Other family members' income will not be taken in account.

Have my financial resources exceeded the limit for Legal Aid?

If you want to have a preliminary assessment as to whether you are financially eligible for Legal Aid, please go to the Legal Assistance Eligibility Calculator.

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