WOMEN who claim they will be thrown out of their homes in the New Territories because of a law which bars them from inheriting property have applied for Legal Aid in a bid to take their cases to court. Five women from three villages, the eldest of whom is 73, registered for Legal Aid yesterday in their fight to be allowed to stay in their family homes. The women hope that the motion passed in the Legislative Council last week urging the scrapping of the law which allows only men to inherit property in the New Territories will help their applications. Linda Wong Sau-yung, of the Hong Kong Federation of Women's Centres, said: ''The law discriminates against women and should be abolished. We are pleased to have won Legco's backing but the question is now whether the Government will act to change the law.'' The Government may extend a law on equal rights to get rid of sexual inequality in the New Territories Ordinance, but there has been no commitment to carry this out. ''The problem is that these women will become homeless very soon and they need help now, so any government action is likely to come too late for them,'' Ms Wong added. Cheng Lai-sheung was told on Thursday she had 14 days to leave her family home in Yuen Long. After her father died, her brothers sold the house without her knowledge and the new owners are now demanding she leaves the property and pay more than $20,000 in rent. Ms Cheng said: ''I am very sad. I am being forced to leave my home and I have nowhere to go.'' The other four women are in similar situations and fear they will be evicted from their family homes or left penniless after being barred from any sale agreement. Without Legal Aid, the women say they are powerless to bring their cases to court. Ms Wong said: ''These women cannot afford to bring their cases to court without Legal Aid. We have no way of knowing whether or not the applications will succeed but we are hoping that the mounting pressure to scrap the law will help their cases.'' Some of the women claim they are being threatened by men in their villages in an attempt to stop them challenging the law. Ms Wong said: ''These women have a lot of courage to come here and apply for Legal Aid. They are under a lot of pressure to give up but they are desperate to keep their homes and maintain their livelihoods.'' Andrew Leung Kin-pong, policy and administration co-ordinator for the Legal Aid Department, said the women's claims would be considered carefully. Mr Leung added: ''We are aware of the importance they attach to this as women and they can rest assured that we will exhaust all possible avenues before coming to a decision.'' The department said it was the first time it had received such a large number of applications at once concerning the inheritance law, although each case would be considered individually. But in an apparent blow to the women's hopes, Mr Leung stressed that the applications could only be considered with regard to the present law. ''If the law is amended or abolished applications would then be considered in the light of that change,'' he added. The women expect to hear the outcome of their applications in about two weeks.