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Public-funded Legal Assistance Scheme for Convention Against Torture & Non-Refoulement Claims (CAT & Non-Refoulement Claims Scheme)
     
  Public-funded Legal Assistance Scheme for Convention Against Torture & Non-Refoulement Claims (CAT & Non-Refoulement Claims Scheme)

The CAT Scheme commenced operation since 24th December 2009. It initially provided legal assistance to claimants who made a claim to the Immigration Department under Article 3 of the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. With effect from 3 March 2014 (date of implementation of the Unified Screening Mechanism), the scope of service of the CAT & Non-Refoulement Claims Scheme was further extended to include claims of non-refoulement protection against (i) torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment (“CIDTP”) in relation to Article 3 of the Hong Kong Bill of Rights under section 8 of the Hong Kong Bill of Rights Ordinance Cap. 383 (“BOR3”) and (ii) persecution, drawing reference to the non-refoulement principle under Article 33 of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees (“persecution”), apart from (iii) torture under Part VIIC of the Immigration Ordinance (Cap. 115). On 12 September 2016, the CAT & Non-Refoulement Claims Scheme extended its service to cover non-refoulement claims made on the ground of “right to life” (Art. 2 HKBOR).

The scope of legal assistance to claimants under this Scheme is as follows:

(a) To advise the claimant of his legal right and the procedures in the process of his non-refoulement claim(s) on applicable grounds.
(b) To assist the claimant to complete and submit the non-refoulement claim form.
(c) To accompany the claimant to attend screening interview(s), if considered necessary by the duty lawyer.
(d) To assess merits of appeal and/or petition for claims rejected by the Immigration Department.
(e) To prepare submissions for the appellant and/or petitioner for meritorious appeal and/or petition cases; and
(f) To represent the claimant at oral hearing, if any.
(g) To assist the claimant in making a request to re-open a non-refoulement claim or to make a subsequent claim in meritorious cases
(h) To prepare submissions for the claimant in an objection notice on revocation in meritorious cases

All Claimants applying for legal assistance have to make statutory declaration that they are without means to pay the cost of legal representation before they are eligible for assistance.

This service is completely free of charge



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