Pro Bono Partnership Programme
Pro Bono Partnership Programme
The project in brief
Justice Centre Hong Kong
Hong Kong SAR China
We anticipate renewal and growth of the programme with existing and new international law firm partners in the future.
Justice Centre Hong Kong’s Pro Bono Partnership Programme works in line with the key objectives of the Global Compact on Refugees to ease the pressures on the host country (Hong Kong SAR) and to enhance refugee self-reliance. By working collaboratively with international law firms, the support base is broadened and responsibilities are shared cross industry and organisation types.
The asylum seeking and refugee situation in Hong Kong SAR is particularly challenging because the jurisdiction is not a party to the Refugee Convention. Where appropriate, and based on individual needs, factors such as age, gender, disability, and diversity are taken into account, with regards to both legal and psychosocial support of our asylum-seeking and refugee clients.
The asylum seekers and refugees we are able to help as clients are well-informed and prepared for their journey through the Unified Screening Mechanism (USM) in Hong Kong SAR because of the high quality legal assistance they receive through our unique partnership model. Additionally, when possible, we assist asylum seeking and refugee clients in obtaining their right to work.
The financial support our partners provide allows us to also focus resources on psychosocial support of our clients. This support facilitates pathways to increased self-reliance through strengthened mental and physical health and well-being. The right to work is a tremendous factor in increased self-reliance and decreased burden on the host country.
These legal and psychosocial services work in tandem to ease the pressures on the host country and increase self-reliance.
This model has the potential to be adapted, replicated, and broadened in scale. As the program grows, so too will the numbers of asylum seekers, refugees, and other forced migrants we are able to help on their path to finding a new home.
The Pro Bono Partnership Programme within Justice Centre Hong Kong aims to provide legal education and capacity building to international law firm partners regarding refugee and asylum seeker rights. It also aims to give top-notch legal and psychosocial support to refugee and asylum seekers in Hong Kong SAR.
Resources used include financial, material, and technical support.
International law firms
Challenges and how they were overcome
The Pro Bono Partnership Programme is ongoing and vital to the success of Justice Centre Hong Kong. Seeing the value of helping refugees and asylum seekers is frequently challenging to international law firms, however once a law firm engages in a partnership they typically renew it on an annual basis and we have a very high retention rate.
We have therefore increased our education and capacity building initiatives, particularly with potential law firm partners. This has led to high-quality partnerships with law firms who are fully committed to sharing our vision and mission.
Results of the Good Practice
- Justice Centre Hong Kong spearheaded an innovative pro bono working model that sees leading international law firms provide legal support and financial assistance in support of asylum seekers and refugees in Hong Kong SAR.
- Law firm partners provide pro bono assistance in direct representation and casework support which leads to increased access to justice for asylum seekers in the USM process in Hong Kong SAR.
- Financial assistance from the law firm partners allows Justice Centre Hong Kong to provide other crucial services, such as psychosocial support, to asylum seekers and other forced migrants.
Justice Centre Hong Kong will continue to utilize and grow this important programme as we drive change for a fair and just society and challenge inequality to bring visibility to the asylum-seeking, refugee, and other vulnerable Hong Kong SAR communities we work with.
Laura Hawxhurst, Partnerships Manager, Justice Centre Hong Kong