Legal assistance for review of detention


Country Report: Legal assistance for review of detention Last updated: 06/04/23


Paula Hoffmeyer-Zlotnik and Marlene Stiller

If asylum applications are lodged by persons in detention, applicants shall immediately be given an opportunity to contact a lawyer of their choice, unless they have already secured legal counsel.[1]

The Constitutional Court ruled in May 2018 that barriers to a lawyer’s access to the Eichstätt facility were not in line with the constitution. In this case, the management of the facility had advised the lawyer that the next available opportunity to contact her client was on the day of the removal.[2] Moreover, in many detention facilities no contact information of available lawyers is provided by the detention administration or social services.

In general, persons in detention pending removal have the right to contact legal representatives, family members, the competent consular representation and relevant aid and support organisations.[3]

However, an applicant usually has to cover the costs for legal representation for the purpose of judicial review of detention and representation in the asylum procedure. There is a possibility to apply for legal aid in the context of judicial review of detention, but this is rarely granted since legal aid is dependent on how the court rates the chances of success. In October 2022, a coalition of over 50 NGOs, including PRO ASYL, Amnesty International, welfare associations and lawyer associations, published a position paper to demand free legal representation of all persons subject to detention, pointing to the frequent errors in detention orders as well as the high number of detention cases fond to be unlawful by courts.[4] The legal changes adopted in late 2022 did not address this, issue however.




[1] Section 14(3) Asylum Act.

[2] Federal Constitutional Court, Decision 2 BvQ 45/18, 22 May 2018.

[3] Section 62a II of the Residence Act.

[4] Flüchtlingsrat Brandenburg, Gesetzeslücke endlich schließen: Menschen in Abschiebehaft brauchen einen Pflichtanwalt!, 12 October 2022, avaialble in German at

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