Pro Bono Partnerships
Justice Centre works closely with law firms and corporations, who dedicate invaluable time, skills and resources (both financial and in-kind) to support refugees and vulnerable migrants in Hong Kong.
If you work within or are affiliated with one of our partner firms, you can access Justice Centre’s Pro Bono Opportunities Directory and practitioner resources here. (Please contact your firm’s Pro Bono Manager or our Partnerships Manager Lynette Nam for the password.)
Pro Bono Opportunities
Our pro bono partners work with us to deliver a range of critical services, including:
- Providing casework support (including taking witness testimony, preparing country condition reports, drafting legal submissions, instructing experts, etc.) in asylum proceedings;
- Representing refugees and forced migrants in asylum appeal proceedings;
- Representing refugees and forced migrants in legal aid proceedings;
- Delivering legal information to asylum seekers (within the community and in detention facilities);
- Representing refugees and torture survivors in unlawful detention claims; and
- Supporting community outreach and empowerment initiatives.
Pro bono lawyers also provide legal advice to support our operations. These include advice in relation to a range of issues such as data privacy, intellectual property and employment.
In addition to legal work, our partner law firms are involved in a wide variety of engagements, such as hosting events and roundtables, mentoring students in our education programmes, and speaking at conferences.
Unmet Legal Needs
Our pro bono initiatives target areas of unmet legal needs.
There are over 13,000 asylum seekers in Hong Kong. While less than 1% of asylum applications are accepted by the Hong Kong Immigration Department, over 93% of asylum seekers are unrepresented before the Appeal Board. At the judicial review stage, grants of legal aid are at around 1%.
Within immigration detention facilities, access to legal information is extremely limited, with asylum seekers and other traumatised persons detained arguably arbitrarily, and for indefinite and indeterminate periods, in abject conditions.
The above is only a sample of the access to justice challenges faced by refugees and forced migrants in Hong Kong. Our pro bono projects provide critical legal support to vulnerable migrants who fall outside legal aid provision in Hong Kong.
Collaborative Model, Impactful Engagement
Justice Centre screens for priority and strategic cases, and our team works closely with our partners to deliver high quality legal services. We provide comprehensive and intensive training to new pro bono lawyers, and provide detailed briefings, guidance documents and templates and ongoing technical assistance throughout each case. We also ensure clients receive holistic support from initial intake to resettlement or case completion.
Partner with Us
Our Pro Bono Partnerships are open to law firms, corporate legal teams and individual legal professionals.
Our partners make an annual contribution, which enable us to maintain a small team of experienced public interest lawyers and advocates to deliver responsive services, conduct case screening, deliver comprehensive training and provide technical assistance throughout each pro bono case. It also allows us to work with professional interpreters, reimburse clients for transport costs, and cover court-filing fees for strategic cases.
Partnership contribution also allows us to supplement legal strategies with social welfare and counseling services and research, policy and advocacy work.
List of Partners
For more information about our Pro Bono Partnerships, please contact our Partnerships Manager Lynette Nam.