Legal assistance for review of detention


Country Report: Legal assistance for review of detention Last updated: 11/05/23


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Legal assistance for persons held in administrative detention (including asylum seekers) is provided by law. Currently, six NGOs which assist foreigners are authorised, by agreement (public procurement) with the Ministry of Interior, to provide “on duty” legal advice in CRA. As they are informed of all arrivals in the centres, they inform the detainees and help them exercise their rights during the detention procedure (hearings in front of the judge, filing of an appeal, request for legal aid etc.)[1] These NGOs are present in the administrative detention centres quasi-permanently (5 to 6 days a week). Some of these NGOs have set aside a budget to hire interpreters to assist detainees who do not speak French or English, whereas others resort to volunteers.

Conversely, no legal assistance is provided in LRA.

As for the assistance given by lawyers, the law foresees that foreigners held in administrative detention can be assisted for free by a lawyer for their appeals (during the hearing) in front of the administrative court or for their presentation in front of the JLD. In practice, detainees can benefit from this assistance provided for free, before both the administrative[2] and civil courts.[3] They can choose their own or request one be appointed.

With regard to the confidentiality granted to the discussions between lawyers and their clients when they meet within the detention centres, the situation can vary from one centre to the other. An office with frosted windows is usually provided. It is however very rare that lawyers agree to go to the detention centres, as they are usually located quite far from the city centre. Lawyers can easily contact their clients by calling a public phone or by calling the NGO present in the centre that will make sure the call is forwarded to the detainee.




[1] French Public Administration, Rights of Foreigners Placed in Detention, available in French at:

[2] Article R. 776-22 CJA.

[3] Article R. 552-6 Ceseda.

Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview 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