Law Wan-tung, former employer of Indonesian domestic worker Erwiana Sulistyaningsih, has been granted permission to apply for judicial review to challenge the Legal Aid Department’s decision to deny her assistance.

Law, 44, was fined HK$15,000 and sentenced to six years’ imprisonment this February for physically abusing Erwiana. She was found guilty of 18 charges, including assault and criminal intimidation. Law applied for legal aid to appeal the sentence, but her request was denied.

erwiana, domestic worker, employer, court
Indonesian domestic worker’s employer Law Wan-Tung.

The Hon. Madam Justice Au-Yeung granted Law permission to pursue judicial review when court resumed on Wednesday afternoon. The Court of First Instance judge ordered Law’s lawyer to hand in appeal documents to the Legal Aid Department within 14 days. It will arrange a date for hearing later on.

Law, who is currently serving her sentence, stated in her application that the Director of Legal Aid failed to give reasons in detail for the denial. She also said that given the serious nature of the accusation, the length of the sentence, the complexity of the points of law argued, and her lack of legal knowledge, she should be allowed legal aid.

On Wednesday morning, the judge questioned whether criminal cases that are on appeal should be dealt with in first instance courts using the judicial review route, as matters of such a nature should be dealt with in appeal courts.

Karen cheung hong kong

Karen is a journalist and writer covering politics and legal affairs in Hong Kong for HKFP. She has also written features on human rights, public space, regional legal developments, social and grassroots activism, and arts & culture. She is a BA and LLB graduate from the University of Hong Kong.