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Annual Report 2022 > 4. Legal Assistance Scheme for Non-refoulement Claimants
4.1 The Legal Assistance Scheme for Non-refoulement Claimants provides legal representation and advice to claimants who have lodged non-refoulement claims under the Unified Screening Mechanism in respect of the following risks:
With effect from 12 September 2016, the Immigration Department has started referring claimants back to the Duty lawyer Service in relation to claims on Article 2 of the Hong Kong Bill of Rights (“BOR2”).
4.2 Our scope of service under this Scheme includes:-
4.3 Claimants under the Legal Assistance Scheme for Non-refoulement Claimants applying for legal assistance have to make statutory declaration that they are without means to pay the cost for legal representation before they are eligible for assistance. This service is also completely free of charge. Up to 2022, a total of 24,178 claims were handled.
4.4 The number of daily intake under the Legal Assistance Scheme for Non-refoulement Claimants grew from two when it commenced operation in 2009 to four (on 12 July 2010), six (on 7 June 2011), seven (on 7 September 2012), eight (on 8 October 2012), nine (transitional) (on 7 April 2014), 10 (transitional) (on 15 April 2014), 11 (transitional) (on 2 May 2014), 11 (on 15 April 2015) and 13 (on 24 August 2015). The daily intake was scaled down to four (on 12 November 2018), but was increased to eight (on 16 February 2021) and 11 (on 15 November 2021). From 1 July 2022, the number of referral reduced to eight again.
4.5 There are 585 active duty lawyers participating in the Legal Assistance Scheme for Non-refoulement Claimants (Appendix A-5) which comprises 393 Barristers and 192 Solicitors who have more than three years post qualification experience and have also undergone the relevant training programmes organized by the Hong Kong Academy of Law and the Bar Association
4.6 As stated in 4.3 above up to 31 December 2022, the Legal Assistance Scheme for Non-refoulement Claimants has received and taken up a total of 24,178 claims from the Immigration Department. Of the 24,178 claims received:
4.7 The Duty Lawyer Service has lodged a total of 1,694 appeal/petitions upon the advice of duty lawyers.
4.8 The Duty Lawyer Service has 124 successful cases involving 229 claimants with their Non-refoulement Claims being substantiated, 47 of which are delivered by the Immigration Department at Tier 1 and 77 of which are delivered by the Torture Claims Appeal Board at Tier 2.