Legal assistance for review of detention


Country Report: Legal assistance for review of detention Last updated: 12/01/21


Croatian Law Centre Visit Website

In detention cases, applicants are entitled to free legal aid. According to national legislation the measure of accommodation at the reception centre for foreigners (i.e. detention) may be imposed if, following an individual assessment, it is established that other alternative measures would not achieve the purpose of restriction of freedom of movement. However, some attorneys at law and one legal representative from an NGO reported that decisions on the restriction of freedom of movement do not always contain a reasoning behind the individual assessment. They simply state that the individual assessment has determined that detention is necessary because other measures cannot achieve the purpose of restricting freedom of movement.[1]

One attorney reported that in one case, detention was ordered based on criminal proceedings, while at the same time a less severe measure was imposed in that same criminal procedure.[2] Another attorney at law reported that clients in detention were not aware of their rights to appeal the detention decision before the Administrative Court which is why deadline has expired.[3] Another one reported that clients were not informed about the reasons behind the detention.[4]

In the past lawyers and legal representatives could easily contact and meet with their clients. However in 2018 and 2019, they faced difficulties in accessing the Reception Centre for Foreigners in Ježevo as well as the Transit Reception Centres. The Centre for Peace Studies in Croatia reported that lawyers providing support to applicants for international protection in the Ježevo Reception Centre for Foreigners could not hold confidential conversations with their clients, as a police officer is always in the room.[5]

The Civil Rights Project (CRP) further reported that the privacy of conversations with the client depends on the individual assessment conducted by police officers of the clients’ behaviour, i.e. risk of violence and/or aggression.[6]  One attorney reported that she was informed that the Reception Centre for Foreigners is a closed and protected facility and that they are obliged to protect visitors; meaning that the attorney was given the choice to have physical protection during the interview with the client. After the attorney informed the police officer that police presence was not needed, the officer left the room.[7]


[1]  Information provided by attorneys at law, 3 December 2019, 6 December 2019.16 December 2019, 21 January 2020.

[2] Information provided by attorney-at-law, 21 December 2020.

[3]  Information provided by attorney at law, 21 January 2020.

[4] Information provided by attorneys at law, 3 December 2019.

[5] FRA, Migration flows: Key fundamental rights concerns – Q2, 2019, available at:

[6] Information provided by Civil Rights Project, 6 December 2019.

[7] Information provided by attorney at law, 16 January 2020.


Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the of the main changes since the previous report update
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection
  • ANNEX I – Transposition of the CEAS in national legislation