1. Is there any financial screening (financial means test) before I can obtain Legal Aid for criminal cases?
To qualify for Legal Aid, the applicant needs to go through a financial means test. The means test is to determine whether the applicant's assets and income exceed the financial resources limit for Legal Aid.
To satisfy the means test, the financial resources of the applicant should not exceed HK$307,130. Legal Aid will normally not be granted if the applicant's financial resources exceeded the limit. However, the Director of Legal Aid has the discretion to grant legal aid where it is in the interest of justice to do so, even if the applicant's financial resources exceed HK$307,130. It may depend on how serious the offence is and whether the applicant can reasonably be expected to be able to afford the legal costs for private legal representation without Legal Aid.
For further details, please see the questions and answers below.