Legal assistance for review of detention


Country Report: Legal assistance for review of detention Last updated: 21/09/23

The Reception Regulations provide for the possibility for asylum seekers to be granted free legal assistance and representation only during the first review of the lawfulness of detention.[1] Free legal assistance and representation entails preparation of procedural documents and participation in any hearing before the Immigration Appeals Board.

According to the calls issued by the Ministry for Home Affairs, legal aid lawyers must provide legal assistance and representation entailing preparation of procedural documents and participation in any hearing before the Immigration Appeals Board. They must undertake to examine the grounds of appeal and present, in writing, the appellant’s case before the Immigration Appeals Board to attend, if required, to sessions of the Immigration Appeals Board to explain case submissions and provide other general assistance to respondents during their appeal. They must carry out administrative work related to the preparation and presentation of the cases as well as in relation to the overall management of the caseload indicated by the Ministry.  They must report on the outcomes of interviews held with appellants and bring to the Ministry’s attention any pertinent matters which may arise. The appointment of legal aid and first hearing shall be carried out within 7 working days of the issuance of detention order. Payment fee in detention appeals is €40 (inc. VAT) per case submission.[2]

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 the low fee awarded per cases. The aforementioned case of J.B. and others v. the Principal Immigration Officer goes to show that Legal Aid lawyer are either unaware or unwilling to provide adequate assistance to detainees, including minor detainees (see Detention of vulnerable applicants).

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.




[1] Regulation 6(5) of the Reception Regulations, Subsidiary Legislation 420.06 of the Laws of Malta.

[2] See

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