Legal aid refused for civil servants' pay-cut challenge

PUBLISHED : Friday, 26 July, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 26 July, 2002, 12:00am

The Legal Aid Department has rejected two civil servants' applications for assistance to sue the government over the controversial pay-cut legislation.

A spokeswoman for the department said it had received legal aid applications from three civil servants recently. Two were rejected because they failed the means test. The third case is still being processed.

The disposable income and capital assets of an applicant in a civil case should not exceed $169,700 to qualify under the means test.

She refused to disclose further details on the applicants, citing privacy reasons.

Liu Kit-ming, chairman of the Local Inspectors' Association, said the three applicants were not members of the association.

He said he understood the pair would try and appeal to the department to have the rejections reviewed, arguing that means testing should not be the sole basis for the decision.

'The case should be dealt with favourably if it is related to the public interest,'' he said.

The group, which has raised about $1.38 million to file a lawsuit against the government, will obtain legal advice in two weeks.

Mr Liu said the legal action to seek a court declaration that the pay-cut law breached the Basic Law would be officially launched in two months.

He said several members had volunteered to take part in the test case.

Cheung Kwok-biu, chairman of the Hong Kong Civil Servants' General Union, said his group was still raising money to issue a lawsuit against the government to fight the issue. It has not yet reached its $1 million target for the fund.

'Most probably we will join hands with the police groups in taking the legal action,'' Mr Cheung said.