A police inspector who lost his legal challenge against the controversial decision to cut civil servants' pay applied for legal aid to lodge an appeal yesterday, saying the court erred in its ruling by overlooking and distorting his arguments. Inspector Lau Kwok-fai said he would represent himself if his application for legal aid is denied. In the Court of First Instance last Tuesday, Mr Justice Michael Hartmann said the pay-cut decision did not breach the Basic Law. The judge also said the law made allowances for civil servants' pay to be adjusted both up and down in regular reviews. The ruling came in response to a judicial review launched against the Public Pay Adjustment Ordinance by Inspector Lau and a second party of applicants - the Government Park and Playground Keepers' Union as well as two civil servants, Shum Man-lai and Leung Tat-wah. The parties argued the cut violated the private employment contracts of 160,000 civil servants and were seeking a declaration that the ordinance breached the Basic Law, which guarantees that pay and other conditions of their service should remain 'no less favourable' after the handover. In a letter to the Legal Aid Department yesterday, the inspector said he was disappointed that his submissions had not been dealt with adequately by Mr Justice Hartmann. He rejected Mr Justice Hartmann's remarks that civil servants' pay adjustments were based on long-agreed mechanisms in which pay levels were made to conform to those in the private sector. The inspector said he was unaware of such mechanisms and, even if they did exist, he had never agreed to them. The chairman of the Hong Kong Civil Servants General Union, Felix Cheung Kwok-biu, said the union would meet in two weeks to discuss whether to continue supporting the legal action by its affiliated Government Park and Playground Keepers' Union and their two members, Mr Shum and Mr Leung. Apart from the legal considerations, Mr Cheung said the union also had to examine the financial implications as most of the $500,000 which was raised for the legal action had been used. When the pay adjustment ordinance took effect on July 19 last year, thousands of civil servants took to the streets to protest against the pay cuts, which ranged from 1.58 to 4.42 per cent.