In 2017, PILnet published the report “THIS WAY – Finding Community Legal Assistance in Hong Kong,” a pioneer comprehensive study on access to justice in Hong Kong through the availability of community legal services. The study revealed a long-standing gap between the available community legal services and the community’s needs for timely, accessible and affordable legal assistance. The report suggests that early legal assistance is the key gap to access to justice in Hong Kong. This report also makes suggestions on the specific changes needed in order to create an environment for lawyers to provide pro bono services, for NGOs to hire staff lawyers, and for non-for-profit law firms to be established.
The report provided 24 recommendations targeted at different stakeholders – the government, professional bodies, the judiciary, law firms, law schools and NGOs. Since the release of the report PILnet is working with partners to explore the implementation and follow-up of these recommendations.
- In 2017, PILnet, in collaboration with The University of Hong Kong, Social Ventures Hong Kong and the law firm of Clyde and Co., piloted a legal education program at a community service center in Sham Shui Po.
- Together with Social Ventures Hong Kong, PILnet has facilitated Legal Tuesdays to equip single and low-income mothers with legal knowledge.
- In 2020, PILnet organized an event titled “A Dialogue: Removing barriers to access to justice in Hong Kong” and that brought together leading pro bono minded lawyers in Hong Kong.