Providing Justice for Low-Income Youths : Publicly Funded Lawyers and Youth Clients in Hong Kong

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)577-593
Journal / PublicationSocial and Legal Studies
Issue number4
Online published31 Dec 2014
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2015


Despite the undercurrents of rights protection in Hong Kong’s juvenile justice procedure, the ultimate goal remains punishment based on welfare needs. Drawing on in-depth interviews with 40 youth defendants and defence lawyers, this article will examine the ways in which youth defendants and defence lawyers negotiate the welfare and justice imperatives of the Hong Kong juvenile justice system and end up accepting the disciplinary welfare model. Publicly funded lawyers have become primarily plea mitigators, assisting the state in seeing to the welfare and ‘the best interests of the child’. A study of Hong Kong will lead to a broader understanding of how a welfare-oriented system can work in a time when juvenile justice systems around the world emphasize human rights, due process and children’s rights.

Research Area(s)

  • Disciplinary welfare model, juvenile justice, legal representation, low-income youths, publicly funded lawyers