The Pitching and Awards Ceremony took place on 23 January. Congratulations to all of the student teams!

First place will receive HK$50,000 and both runner up teams will each receive HK$25,000 to implement their projects with the help of PILnet. The team awarded with best potential will receive HK$10,000 to continue to develop their idea.

First Place: Homecoming

Project Homecoming aims to empower the local homeless in Hong Kong by enhancing the homeless’ knowledge of their rights and providing them with social and legal services.

The project will be launched in three phases:

Phase 1: A storage gift voucher scheme

Recognising the defective property rights protection for the homeless, this phase targets at those who are employed or seeking jobs. They can safely store their belongings in storage centres for free when they go to work.

Phase 2: An outreach free legal consultation scheme

Beyond property rights, this phase aims to disseminate information on the homeless’ other rights, offer the homeless free legal advice and connect them with pro bono lawyers and social workers.

Phase 3: Social media pages set-up

This phase aims to raise public awareness and call for more funding to sustain the two phases. In the long run, we plan to call for policy changes.

Runner Up: EC-PIN

Employees’ Compensation Personal Injuries Network (“EC-PIN”) is a student-led pro bono legal project, which strives for easy protection of workers’ rights to injury compensation. This project aims to empower both workers whose right to employees’ compensation is statutorily protected and workers whose rights have not been recognized through (1) developing an ECPI calculator, (2) public promotion through publishing case articles and information packages and (3) policy advocacy work with the help of NGOs and lawyers.

Runner Up: Save Our Restaurant

The covid-19 pandemic adversely affects catering industry in Hong Kong at large due to the new policies of the government such as the “no dine-in” restriction and prohibition on group gatherings. As a result, many restaurants are facing difficulties in affording rent and the risk of ending their businesses.

The Save Our Restaurant (SOR) team provides a platform for tenant and landlord to have free mediation over rental issues under the covid-19 pandemic. In particular, we provide practical, efficient and creative solutions to the tenant and landlord to establish a sustainable business for both parties. Our proposed project is a 18-month long program and is divided into 5 stages. We will recruit law students, law graduates or other suitable individuals as volunteer mediators, to serve to benefit the tenants and landlords in need at large.

Best Potential: Team 7 - WeDoCare

WeDoCare aims to provide assistance for domestic abuse victims and raise general awareness towards the issue of domestic violence in light of the escalated occurrences since the outbreak of COVID-19. Our project is specifically structured in accordance with this year’s themes of “community” and “resilience” – we hope to create a strengthened community for people who have experienced domestic violence in which they can receive long-term support for recovering from their unpleasant experiences. Currently, people who have gone through domestic abuse are either not aware of the support platforms available to them or reluctant to voice out their experiences, which is why we want to let them know that they are not as isolated as they thought through this project. We also want to make the general public part of their community to diminish any prejudice our society might have towards domestic violence. Ultimately, we hope to develop our project into one that could alleviate the problem of domestic violence in Hong Kong in the long run.

Freelancer Matters

Freelancer Matters is a project that aims to provide legal assistance and empowerment to the long neglected group of freelancers in Hong Kong. The ultimate end is to fill up the current gap that freelancers are neither deemed to be needy (hence not served by NGOs) nor vulnerable (hence not protected by the legislation).    To achieve this goal, we will empower freelancers with real-life legal knowledge and potential abuse that they may face with the joint efforts from peer freelancers, pro bono lawyers, student volunteers and current unions and associations. We believe that it would prevent their clients from abusing these freelancers’ ignorance of the law and making a benefit out at their expense.

L-E-T’s BEGAIN

L-E-T’s BEGAIN aims to tackle the unfair treatment and exploitation faced by subdivided flat tenants. Most of them have little legal awareness and bargaining power compared to landlords. As litigation is timely and costly, pre-contractual negotiation is the key to protect tenants’ interests. Through our project, we hope to reach out to a wider range of subdivided flat tenants by both traditional and innovative approaches in light of the technological advancement and the pandemic. Our vision is to bridge Landlords and Tenants together through Enthusiasts including NGOs, legal practitioners and law students so that we can all GAIN from this project.

Our project is specifically structured in light of this year’s theme of “community resilience” – through this self-sustainable project, we hope to tailor service to tenants’ and NGO’s existing service gap and build a strong community where various stakeholders’ basic needs are respected and fulfilled.

Domestalliance

Foreign domestic workers (“FDWs”) have long been an integral part of the Hong Kong workforce since the late 1970s. However, inequality in bargaining power often puts FDWs at risk of exploitation with regard to their employers and agencies, a problem which is especially severe amid the COVID-19 pandemic. These problems mainly originate from (1) existing service gaps provided by NGOs and (2) FDWs’ and employers’ lack of awareness towards legal rights and responsibilities.

In response to the status quo, Domestalliance primarily aims to enhance the FDW community’s resilience through empowering them to know and enforce their legal rights, with an ancillary goal of fostering a harmonious working environment between FDWs and employers. To achieve this, Domestalliance positions itself as a middleman in the current ecosystem, fills existing gaps and engages different stakeholders (mainly NGOs and FDWs) via initiatives such as a one-stop-shop website, social media, community talks and NGO support.

SUNGO Starter

SUNGO Starter is an innovative initiative aimed at empowering start-ups passionate to empower others. Compliance with legal requirements and inadequate attention to legal risks are often underlying impediments to running successful start-ups. Although there are a wide spectrum of services that are geared towards solving the problem, the information is too scattered and start-up founders often fail to locate the accurate information they need or even identify the legal problem that they are confronted with. Conscious of such situation, SUNGO Starter meliorates through offering twin pillars of services. First, we offer a “Start-up Navigator” that assists start-ups in navigating through the abundance of legal information and the complexity of legal statutes by the use of technology. Second, we operate a Legal Information Exchange Hub where key legal information will be disseminated and legal seminars will be held.