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Wednesday, 3 November 2010

New survey on legal aid for asylum seekers in Europe

European Council on Refugees and ExilesImage via Wikipedia
The European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE) and ELENA, the European Legal Network on Asylum have published a survey on legal aid for asylum seekers in Europe.

The survey provides a comparative overview of the provision of legal aid for asylum seekers in 19 countries across Europe. It gathers information not only on the role and tasks of those advising, assisting and representing asylum seekers but also on related aspects of the asylum procedure.

The research reveals positive developments in the provision of legal aid as well as restrictions on access to legal advice and representation in practice. Among the key findings of the survey are:
  • the crucial role of NGOs in the provision of legal aid to asylum seekers; 
  • the obstacles faced by asylum seekers in accessing legal aid in detention or at the border as well as in accelerated asylum procedures; 
  • and the diverse practice of States with regards to the role of means and merits testing in determining eligibility for legal aid. 
In conclusion, ECRE and ELENA provide recommendations to improve the provision of legal aid for asylum seekers in Europe.
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