The development of Hong Kong Legal Cloud

The Chief Executive outlined the development of Lawtech in her 2018 Policy Address. In the speech delivered at the Ceremonial Opening of the Legal Year 2019, the Secretary for Justice also highlighted that the use of technology in the provision of legal services is an important area of development. As set out in the Policy Address 2020, the Department of Justice (DoJ) is tasked to actively explore the development of Hong Kong Legal Cloud to enhance the capability of the profession to harness modern technology in the provision of legal and dispute resolution services.

Under the auspices of the said policy initiative and particularly in light of the challenges brought by the pandemic to the legal profession, DoJ will provide a sum of around HK$15.7 million (“Hong Kong Legal Cloud Fund”) for the development of Hong Kong Legal Cloud by selected non-profit making non-governmental body(ies) (NGO) through Public-Private Partnership (PPP). In order to encourage the local legal and dispute resolution communities to subscribe to Hong Kong Legal Cloud services, qualified subscribers in the local legal and dispute resolution sectors will be subsidized through the Hong Kong Legal Cloud Fund, which will, in turn, be used to finance the setup cost, initial operational and promotion costs through disbursement of subscriptions fees to the selected listed provider(s), for up to three years.

Hong Kong Legal Cloud shall be an advanced and user-friendly facility situated in Hong Kong to provide safe, secure and affordable data storage services for the local legal and dispute resolution communities, which should include but not limited to the following features and capabilities:

  1. Security: for example, with dedicated database server and active directory server exclusive to the user; banking grade cybersecurity standard and enterprise-level backup capability and capacity; strong encryption (both in transit and at rest); multi-factor authentication (MFA); geographic redundancy; redundant backups; password complexity rules; and 24x7 threat monitoring;
  2. Reliability: for example, with redundant servers; distributed infrastructure; robust backups; down time; system availability; and disaster recovery;
  3. Affordability: rates of subscription fees favourably comparable to equivalent on-premise and on-cloud services readily available on the market;
  4. Functionality and scalability: for example, ability to host applications and middleware and provide IaaS, PaaS and SaaS services; abundant and up-to-date legal-centric features covering both back office applications (e.g. billing and accounting) and front office applications (e.g. document management and case management) taking into account the nature of work and needs of the local legal and dispute resolution sector; and
  5. Other important features such as compatibility, high mobility, accessibility and performance standards (including speed and stability).
We encourage interested non-profit-making NGO to develop and provide the services of Hong Kong Legal Cloud that meets the above conditions, and welcome submission (together with all necessary supporting information and documents demonstrating that its system could meet the above conditions and its ability to provide high quality services to the local legal and dispute resolution sector) to the Inclusive Dispute Avoidance and Resolution Office, Department of Justice, 7/F, Main Wing, Justice Place, 18 Lower Albert Road, Central, Hong Kong on or before 1 June 2021 for consideration to become listed provider(s) of Hong Kong Legal Cloud (DoJ may also request supplementary information, as necessary). The selected provider(s) of Hong Kong Legal Cloud will be required to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding with DoJ, which will set out the terms and requirements to become listed provider(s) of Hong Kong Legal Cloud, by end of Q3 of 2021. The listed provider(s) of Hong Kong Legal Cloud will be entitled to funding support equivalent to the actual subscription fees of its services as incurred by its users by way of disbursement from the Hong Kong Legal Cloud Fund.

Any updated information on the development of Hong Kong Legal Cloud will be available on this webpage in due course.