Daily allowance for jury duty may top HK$360

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 08 November, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 08 November, 2008, 12:00am

The government yesterday gazetted a new order increasing the allowance paid to jurors by 28 per cent from the current HK$280 a day.

The order means a juror will receive HK$360 a day. Each could also be given an additional amount of up to HK$360 a day - subject to a judge's decision - adding up to a total maximum daily allowance of HK$720.

The new order must first go through negative vetting in the Legislative Council until December 10, meaning it will pass unless an objection is received. This is the first adjustment since 1996.

The government also announced yesterday it would present amendments to ordinances on December 3 to make similar increases in allowances paid to ordinary, professional and expert witnesses in both criminal proceedings and the coroner's court.

Once those increases are approved, ordinary witnesses will be paid HK$360 a day to appear in court, while professional and expert witnesses will receive HK$2,170 a day.

A government spokesman said: 'The increases aim to maintain the real value of the rates of allowances to minimise any financial loss suffered by members of the public serving as jurors in courts or testifying as witnesses. The revised rates of allowances have been worked out on the basis of the adjustment mechanism approved by the finance committee of Legco.'

Rates for jurors and ordinary witnesses are adjusted according to the median monthly earnings of employees. Rates for professional and expert witnesses are adjusted according to the mid-point salary of a medical and health officer.

The Law Reform Commission released a consultation paper this year on extending the top age for jury service from 65 to 70. The consultation ended in May, but the commission has yet to publish a final report.