The Reception Regulations provide for the possibility for asylum seekers to be granted free legal assistance and representation only during the review of the lawfulness of detention. Free legal assistance and representation entails preparation of procedural documents and participation in any hearing before the Immigration Appeals Board.
The lack of expertise from legal aid lawyer has been reported by NGOs as being one of the major issues with the system, along with the very low salary they are paid by cases.
Regulation 11(5) of the Returns Regulations provides that within the context of an application to the Board to review decisions related to return, a legal adviser shall be allowed to assist the third-country national and free legal aid will be provided where the individual meets the criteria for entitlement in terms of national law. It is, however, questionable whether an application to the Board to review the lawfulness of detention would qualify as a request to review a decision relating to return, which is usually understood to include a decision to issue a removal order and/or a return decision.
 Regulation 6(5) Reception Regulations.