Legal assistance for review of detention


Country Report: Legal assistance for review of detention Last updated: 10/06/21


Greek Council for Refugees Visit Website

Article 46(7) IPA provides that “detainees who are applicants for international protection shall be entitled to free legal assistance and representation to challenge the detention order…”

In practice, no free legal aid system has been set up to challenge his or her detention. Free legal assistance for detained asylum seekers provided by NGOs cannot sufficiently address the needs and in any event cannot exempt the Greek authorities from their obligation to provide free legal assistance and representation to asylum seekers in detention, as foreseen by the recast Reception Conditions Directive.[1]  This continued to be the case in 2020, where only two to three NGOs were providing free legal assistance to detainees with limited resources and less than 10 lawyers in total focusing on detention countrywide.

CPT findings from 2018 confirm that “the information provided was insufficient – particularly concerning their (legal) situation[…] there was an almost total lack of available interpretation services in all the establishments visited […] access to a lawyer often remained theoretical and illusory for those who did not have the financial means to pay for the services of a lawyer […] As a result, detainees’ ability to raise objections against their detention or deportation decisions or to lodge an appeal against their deportation was conditional on them being able to access a lawyer”[2]. Τhis situation remained unchanged during 2020.

As mentioned above in two 2019 ECtHR judgments, the Court by taking into consideration inter alia the lack of legal aid to challenge the detention order found a violation of Art 5(4).[3]



[1]  Article 9(6) recast Reception Conditions Directive.

[2]  CPT, Report on the visit to Greece from 10 to 19 April 2018, CPT/Inf (2019) 4, 19 February 2019, paras 78-80.

[3]  ECtHR, O.S.A. v. Greece, Application No 39065/16, Judgment of 21 March 2019; ECtHR, Kaak v. Greece, Application No 34215/16, Judgment of 3 October 2019.

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