Resource Centre for Unrepresented Litigants

FAQs on Court Procedure


Where can unrepresented litigants obtain assistance on the conduct of their cases?


The Judiciary is responsible for administration of justice and must maintain impartiality in adjudicating disputes. The Judiciary is therefore not in a position to give legal advice to litigants or to comment on the merits of cases. The Resource Centre for Unrepresented Litigants provides information about general civil procedures to unrepresented litigants who are parties to, or about to commence, civil proceedings in the High Court or District Court. It is located at Room LG105, Lower Ground Floor 1, High Court Building, 38 Queensway, Hong Kong (Tel. 2825 0586). The staff at the Resource Centre will not give legal advice or comment on the merits of cases. Litigants should consult lawyers for legal advice and assistance in the conduct of their litigations.

There are various free legal services in Hong Kong, including the Free Legal Advice Scheme operated by the Duty Lawyer Service at District Offices and the Free Legal Service Scheme operated by the Hong Kong Bar Association. For details of the Duty Lawyer Service, please refer to its website at The office of the Hong Kong Bar Association is situated at LG2 Floor of the High Court Building.


Do I have to appear in Court if I apply for default judgment?


If it is a claim for debt or for liquidated damages, you may enter default judgment for the amount claimed and costs. You are not required to appear in Court. If your claim is for unliquidated damages, interlocutory judgment will be entered, then you will have to appear in Court so that a Master or a Judge can assess the amount of damages you are entitled to.


If I lost the case, is it necessary for me to pay the solicitors fee of the other side? If yes, how much?


Normally the court will grant an order for costs to the winning party in an action or application against the losing party. If no fixed cost is allowed by the court, the parties may negotiate the costs among themselves. If no agreement is reached, the winning party can apply to court for taxation of his costs and it is therefore unable to tell how much the costs (solicitors fee) would be beforehand.


My claim is allowed by the Labour Tribunal, but my employer has not paid the wages due for work done or made the payment. I have already got a Certificate of Award from the Labour Tribunal and I am required to pay a fee when I register the certificate with the District Court. I want to know for what purpose such a fee is paid and whether I am required to pay an additional fee on application for a writ of execution (a writ of fieri facias).


You should register the Certificate of Award with the District Court within 12 months from the date of the award. The registration fee is HK$20. You may at the same time apply to the District Court for the court bailiff to enforce the judgment. The relevant fees are:

1) A fee for sealing a writ of execution, which is HK$630
2) A deposit for the Bailiff's travelling expenses and a deposit for the security guard services, which are HK$4,400 for the Hong Kong and Kowloon areas and HK$4,800 for the New Territories.

You must understand that regardless of whether or not the execution is successful, the Bailiff's expenses and the security guard service fees are deducted from these deposits for each attempt at execution. The more attempts you make, the greater are the costs incurred, and you may in fact have to pay a further deposit if the number of attempts warrants it. The costs you incur may only be recovered if the execution is successful and the payment of the defendant or the proceeds of the sale of goods and chattels are enough to cover the judgment debt plus the costs incurred.


What steps have to be taken if I want to have a stay of execution of the judgment/order pending appeal in the Court of Appeal?


The application for stay must be made in the first instance to the court below. If it is refused, it can be made to the Court of Appeal within a reasonable time. It should be made by way of summons inter partes with an affidavit/affirmation setting out the reasons in support.


Why does the judgment creditor still enforce the judgment/order entered against me when I have already lodged an appeal against it?


An appeal shall not operate as a stay of proceedings in which the appeal is brought. The judgment/order is valid unless and until it is reversed. The judgment creditor is, unless otherwise directed by the court, entitled to take whatever legal actions to enforce the judgment/order.


What would happen if the Bailiff is denied admittance to a building or if no person answers or is in the building in respect of which he has a warrant to distrain?


The Bailiff may apply to the Court for an order to break open the door.


If the bailiff finds the premises in respect of which he has a warrant to distrain is deserted, can the landlord regain possession of the premises?


If a tenant of premises with a rateable value not exceeding $100,000 at the time of an application for a warrant is in arrears for 2 months and deserts the premises with no sufficient distress therein, the bailiff shall, after obtaining a court order, affix a notice in a conspicuous place of the premises; and unless contrary is shown before the court within 10 days, the premises will be given over to the applicant (landlord/lessor).


Can I appeal against the decision of the Registrar of the High Court on an appeal from the refusal of legal aid?


No, the decision of the Registrar of the High Court shall be final.


Can I appeal to the Court of Appeal against the refusal of leave to appeal against the award of the Labour/Small Claims Tribunal?


No, the refusal of the Court of First Instance to grant leave to appeal shall be final.

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