In December 2020, Pro Bono HK (“PBHK”) made a formal request to the Hong Kong Bar Association (“HKBA”), the licencing and regulatory organisation for barristers in Hong Kong, to exempt practicing barristers from having to be formally briefed by solicitors when participating in our legal advice and access to justice programs, specifically: –
Our community legal clinics, which have been operating since May 2017; and
Our legal literacy seminars for the community for the disadvantaged members living in Sham Shui Po and surrounding districts.
PBHK is thrilled to announce that on 29 December 2020, the HKBA granted an exemption under the Bar Code to PBHK to officially approve PBHK as an authorized organization so that practicing barristers can directly participate in our programs to offer free legal advice to the poor, marginalized and disadvantaged members of our community who otherwise could not afford to pay for legal services.
What This Means
This approval allows PBHK to join the ranks of the Duty Lawyer Service Free Legal Advice Scheme, the Bar Free Legal Service Scheme as one of the few recognized schemes under the Bar Code as increasing access to justice in Hong Kong for those unable to afford the protection of the law due to financial means or due to other barriers.
It also marks an important milestone for PBHK as it frees up limited resources and enables practicing barristers to provide free legal advice to clients without the need to first be formally briefed and accompanied by solicitors. This means that our volunteer solicitors and barristers can now independently advise individuals, whereas previously it required both a barrister and a solicitor to help each individual.
PBHK Founder, Davyd Wong, said “We are extremely delighted about the HKBA’s granting of the exemption to us as it means we will now have more solicitor and barrister volunteer resources to service the overwhelming demand for legal assistance that currently exists in our local community.”
The Bar Council’s resolution is now in effect, and PBHK welcomes all practicing barristers hoping to make a difference to sign up here.
With its origins in 2014, Pro Bono HK is an independent Hong Kong-based non-profit organization that seeks to increase access to justice in our community, by helping ensure the poor, marginalised, and underprivileged to have equal protection of the law and that no one is denied the ability to exercise their legal rights under the law due to a lack of financial or other resources. Inquiries: Please email Annie at firstname.lastname@example.org
www.probonohk.org  Code of Conduct of the Bar of The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Bar Code 5.6  Code of Conduct of the Bar of The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Bar Code 5.17
This article does not constitute legal advice.
The opinions expressed in the column above represent the author’s own.