Veteran politician Elsie Tu has been given a say in how the legal aid system should be run. Mrs Tu, 83, a strong critic of Governor Chris Patten, was appointed to the new Legal Aid Services Council announced yesterday. She will join China-appointed Hong Kong affairs adviser Dr Law Cheung-kwok and six other professionals advising the Government on legal aid policies. They will also decide whether the Legal Aid Department should be legally independent from the administration. Mrs Tu said: 'I am interested in how the cases are referred to lawyers and how they are charged financially. 'My major role is to monitor the department and look at ways to improve the system.' She declined to comment on the controversial topic of the department's independence. Approached by officials two months ago for the post, she said she was confident she could handle the council's work because, as a long-time worker for the poor, she had dealt with many legal aid cases. A government spokesman said the political views of members were irrelevant. 'We aim to draw expertise from the social services, business and human rights sectors as well as from Legco,' she said. Chaired by banker Lee Jark-pui, the council is served by a chief executive and six other staff. The first task for members is expected to be a visit to the Legal Aid Department later this year. Other council members are City University's Jimson Chan Wing-tai, economist Tang Kwai-nang, barristers John Mullick and Ruy Barretto, and lawyers William Tsui Hing-chow and Anthony Chow Wing-kin. Director of Legal Aid Chan Shu-ying is an ex-officio member. The members will serve for two years from September 1. The council is expected to cost the Government $4 million for the first year.