D. The Bar Free Legal Service Scheme run by the Hong Kong Bar Association
The Bar Free Legal Service Scheme aims to provide free legal advice and representation in court proceedings (1) where Legal Aid is not available; (2) where the applicant cannot reasonably afford private legal services; and (3) the applicant has reasonable grounds for taking or defending the proceedings.
The free legal advice or representation is given by a barrister in private practice from a panel of barristers who have volunteered to participate in the Scheme. The panel comprises barristers with a range of experience and specialisations. Each of them has offered his services free of charge for 3 days or 20 hours each year. The volunteer barrister may (1) give advice either in writing or orally in conference on a legal problem; or (2) represent the applicant in court or tribunal hearing.
The Scheme is not publicly funded. Given its limited resources, the Scheme will not be able to provide a barrister to advise on a continuing basis over a long period or to provide assistance in lengthy court hearings. The Scheme is also restricted in its funds to retain outside help, for example expert witnesses. The principal expertise of a barrister is in representing clients at hearings in courts and tribunals; and giving specialist legal advice. Barristers do not have the resources to carry out factual enquiries or to deal with correspondence or court procedures on a client's behalf. When services of solicitors are required, the Scheme will try to obtain assistance from solicitors who agree to help on a voluntary basis.
For more details about the Bar Free Legal Service Scheme, please visit the Hong Kong Bar Association's webpage or telephone 2137 9107.