2.1 The Duty Lawyer Service (formerly known as the Law Society Legal Advice and Duty Lawyer Schemes) first introduced in 1978 was incorporated on 17 August 1993 as a company limited by guarantee. It has continued to operate the Duty Lawyer Scheme, the Free Legal Advice Scheme and the Tel Law Scheme with the Care or Protection Scheme and Legal Assistance Scheme for Non-refoulement Claimants commencing on 1 October 2003 and 24 December 2009 respectively.
2.2 The Duty Lawyer Service is fully subvented by the Government but is independently managed and administered by the Council of the Duty Lawyer Service. The membership of the Duty Lawyer Service consists of 24 members with the Council of the Law Society and the Bar Council each nominating 12 members. The Duty Lawyer Service Council comprises of four Barristers nominated by the Bar Association and four Solicitors nominated by the Law Society and three lay members. The Chairmanship of the Duty Lawyer Service Council is rotated annually between the nominees of the Bar Association and the Law Society. The Administrator who is a qualified Barrister is the CEO and is responsible for the day-to-day operation and administration of the Schemes.
2.3 The Council of the Service had met five times during the year under review to receive reports from the Administrator. In addition to overseeing and monitioring the Schemes’ operation generally, the Council formulates policy and reviews existing policy in the administration of the Schemes’ programmes. There are currently three working committees under the Council namely the Human Resource Committee, Finance Committee and The Legal Assistance Scheme for Non-refoulement Claimants Committee focusing on the specific area of works delegated to them. The Administrator as ex-officio member attended with the Chief Court Liaison Officers and the Committee Secretary in all the Council and Working Committee meetings.
2.4 The Council Membership is listed in Appendix A-1, the Register of Members is listed in Appendix A-2 and the Administrative Structure of the Schemes is set out in diagrammatic form in Appendix A-3.
2.5 There are also three staff subcommittees chaired by the Chief Court Liaison Officers which continued to meet regularly during the year. These staff subcommittees, comprising representatives of the senior grade Court Liaison Officers, general grade Court Liaison Officers and the secretaries grade, facilitated communication between the Court Liaison Office staff and the Head Office Administration. The list of the Duty Lawyer Service’s employees appears at Appendix A-4.