Public Interest and Equal Rights

The Public Interest and Equal Rights (PIER) Group specialises in issue-oriented work such as civil rights litigation, discrimination, LGBT equality rights, child protection and medical malpractice. Many of our cases are not single issue cases but engage several legal issues across a number of practice areas that can include criminal, family, employment, immigration and bankruptcy or insolvency.

Clients of the PIER Group are selected with more emphasis on their need for the firm’s services and the cause their claim relates to with less of an emphasis on the client’s financial means. The litigation work of the PIER Group focuses on challenging, advancing or retaining laws with a view to safeguarding the legal rights of minority groups or individuals and advancing a strategy of broader social, governmental or economic impact and reform. We represent a number of clients facing legal issues that engage their legal rights under: the Bill of Rights, the Basic Law and the four anti-discrimination ordinances (i.e., the Sex Discrimination Ordinance) as well as bringing Judicial Reviews.

It is hoped that through the work of the PIER Group that positive change will result, whether by way of changes to law, policy or practice, exposing injustice or simply raising public awareness. The PIER Group also liaises with grassroots organisations, NGO’s and civil society to provide information, training and assistance in demonstrated areas of need, and to identify new areas in which to direct future attention.

Areas of law

1.    Civil litigation
2.    Migrant workers’ issues
3.    Women and children’s law
4.    Civil rights litigation
5.    Policy work

Tanner De Witt is one of the largest independent law firms in Hong Kong. Our core values include respect and fairness towards our employees and all clients across all practice areas. We do not discriminate based on factors such as gender, sexuality or background and in turn expect that our clients are respectful of Tanner De Witt’s policy of diversity, inclusion and non-discrimination (you can view the full statement here).

We pride ourselves on our ability to provide practical, cost-effective advice. As is usual for lawyers in Hong Kong, we generally charge clients on the basis of time spent. In certain cases we can agree alternative pricing structures and provided that it is lawful within the jurisdiction of Hong Kong we are prepared to work with you on innovative funding solutions involving third parties including Legal Aid (see here).

  • Advising a banking executive in relation to the successful resolution of her claim against a US bank regarding sex discrimination and sexual harassment;
  • Advising a Hong Kong educational institution in relation to the termination of an employee and settlement of claims arising from her employment involving consideration of issues including the Disability Discrimination Ordinance;
  • Advising and supporting a migrant asylum seeker regarding their rights as a victim of a violent crime;
  • Advising a senior executive in relation to the successful resolution of her claim against a leading Hong Kong financial institution involving allegations of race discrimination and unilateral variation of contract;
  • Advising claimants or refugees seeking protection from refoulement to their home countries under the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment;
  • Acting for a pregnant foreign domestic worker who was terminated after serving their notice of pregnancy on their employer;
  • Acting for a transgender person facing sex discrimination issues encountered in the course of their employment;
  • Acting for a same sex married couple with regard to their claim for entitlement to spousal benefits and entitlements in a discrimination case;
  • Children’s rights, protection of children and wardship cases;
  • Acting for young offenders with respect to criminal matters and police;
  • Judicial Review of government decisions affecting same sex couples under the Bill of Rights;
  • Advising employers on their obligation toward employees under the Sex Discrimination Ordinance and the Race Discrimination Ordinance and the Disability Discrimination Ordinance;
  • Acting for a media client regarding infringement of freedom of expression per the Bill of Rights;
  • Unprecedented wardship case for an NGO.