8. What can I do if my application for Criminal Legal Aid is rejected?

You should first check the reasons for the refusal and see if there may be any errors or mistakes on the information that you had given to the Legal Aid Officer during your application. If so, you may liaise with the staff of the Legal Aid Department to explain further your situation and ask them to re-consider your application.

If your assessed financial resources do not exceed $307,130 but you are refused Legal Aid on merits, you can apply to the judge hearing your case to grant you Legal Aid.

If you are charged with murder, treason or piracy with violence, you can apply to the judge to grant you Legal Aid or for exemption from payment of contribution, even if you cannot pass the financial means test.

Apart from the above-mentioned channel to obtain Legal Aid directly from the judge, there is unfortunately no right of appeal against a refusal to grant Legal Aid in criminal cases. The only exception is that if you are refused Legal Aid for lodging an appeal to the Court of Final Appeal, you may appeal against the refusal to a Committee of Review.

If you are not granted Legal Aid but you cannot afford to employ any private lawyer to represent you in the proceedings, you may try to seek help from the Bar Free Legal Service Scheme provided by the Hong Kong Bar Association.

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