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6. If I am detained by the police in the police station, how can I find a lawyer? Can I obtain free legal services at this stage if I cannot afford a private lawyer?

You may ask the police for a list of solicitors whom you can consult. The police have a duty to provide the list to you upon request, and allow you to telephone the solicitor unless this will seriously prejudice their investigation. However, free legal services are not available to you at this stage. The Legal Aid Scheme and Duty Lawyer Service are only available after you have been charged with an offence and brought before the court.


You can apply to the Duty Lawyer Service in order to seek free legal representation at your first hearing or subsequent hearings in a Magistrates' Court. For hearings at the District Court or the Court of First Instance, you can apply to the Legal Aid Department for free or subsidised legal services. For more information about the Duty Lawyer Service or the Legal Aid Scheme, please view another topic – Legal Aid.