Defunct 612 Humanitarian Relief Fund owes more than HK$20m in legal fees

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1st December 2021 – (Hong Kong) The 612 Humanitarian Relief Fund, set up by prominent pro-democracy and anti-government activists in June 2019 provided legal support to arrested protesters. The secretariat of the Fund announced its dissolution at the end of October. It was reported that the fund owed around HK$20m in legal fees involving more than 200 barristers and lawyers.

It is reported that the legal fees for all protesters who were prosecuted and charged in court would be fully subsidised.

Whenever the legal aid application was rejected, the fund would hire lawyers and barristers to appear in court for defendants in financial difficulties. As multiple defendants are involved and the hearing period is quite long, it is estimated that the costs are in the millions of Hong Kong dollars. However, after the fund ceased operation, it did not have sufficient resources to hire legal representatives so the protesters applied for legal aid instead. However, the Legal Aid Department has just implemented reform policies, including criminal cases not allowing legal aid applicants to choose their own lawyer representatives, as a result, the funds collected and the income of lawyers have been greatly reduced.

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