A. Legal Aid Scheme for Criminal Cases run by the Legal Aid Department

The Legal Aid Department will assign qualified solicitors or barristers in private practice to provide legal representation in criminal cases to eligible defendants in Hong Kong (whether the person is a Hong Kong resident or non-resident) (1) for all cases tried in the District Court or the High Court; (2) for appeals against conviction or sentence passed by a Magistrate or a judge of the District Court or High Court (including further appeals to the Court of Final Appeal); and (3) for committal proceedings in the Magistrates Courts.

Legal aid is not available in Magistrates Courts (except for committal proceedings). If you are charged with an offence in Magistrates Courts, you should seek legal representation from the Duty Lawyer Scheme.

  1. Is there any financial screening (financial means test) before I can obtain Legal Aid?
  2. Is there any case merits screening (case merits test) before I can obtain Legal Aid?
  3. Can I obtain Legal Aid if I want to plead guilty to the charge?
  4. Do I need to pay anything for Legal Aid service for criminal cases?
  5. Can I choose a lawyer I trust to represent me under Legal Aid?
  6. What should I do if I want to obtain Legal Aid?
  7. How long do I have to wait for the result of my application?
  8. What can I do if my application for Legal Aid is rejected?

For more details about the Legal Aid Scheme for criminal cases, please visit the Legal Aid Department's webpage or telephone 2537 7677 (24-hour interactive voice processing system) or 2537 7661 (Headquarters).