Legal assistance for review of detention


Country Report: Legal assistance for review of detention Last updated: 30/04/21


Felicia Nica with support from JRS Romania Visit Website

During detention in public custody centres, asylum seekers have all the rights set out in the Asylum Act, except for those concerning the right to access employment, right to accommodation in the Regional Centres and reimbursement for travel costs.[1] As a consequence, detained asylum seekers have the same rights to legal assistance as those at liberty.

Legal assistance for asylum seekers in detention is provided by CNRR through the project “Specialized legal assistance for asylum seekers in Romania”, funded by the AMIF national programme. In Arad, legal counselling is ensured by the legal counsellor of Timișoara.

According to the director of Arad, IGI informs via email CNRR Bucharest when an asylum application is made. It was also reported by the director that CNRR legal counsellor did not attend any of the interviews held in detention and was not present in the centre in order to provide legal counselling to asylum seekers. The appeals in case of asylum applications rejected by IGI-DAI are lodged by CNRR or by the asylum seekers themselves. According to the director of Timișoara centre the majority of appeals were lodged by the asylum seekers and also by their lawyers.

In most of the cases, the legal counsellor provides legal counselling based on contact and information provided by IGI, CNRR reported. According to CNRR, in general, the legal counselling is provided after the decision is communicated if there is a decision to reject the asylum application in an accelerated procedure.[2] Provision of legal counselling before the interview, according to CNRR depends on when they learn about the submission of the asylum application and promptness of IGI-DAI in conducting the interview.[3] According to CNRR, 51 asylum applications were made from detention in 2020 and in 42 cases they provided legal counselling. Out of the total number of asylum applications, 29 applications were assessed in the regular procedure.

Asylum interviews were held through videoconference with case officers from Timișoara.

JRS reported that legal counselling is provided by CNRR, JRS and IGI before the asylum application is made and also during the asylum procedure.

In Otopeni, according to the director, IGI informs CNRR about the asylum applications made. In the following days, CNRR legal counsellors are present in the centre in order to provide legal counselling to asylum seekers, a CNRR representative mentioned.

It is more difficult or even impossible for asylum seekers to contact the legal counsellors or attorneys in due time in order to prepare and/or assist them for the personal interview. They are made aware of their rights and obligation as asylum seekers only at the interview conducted by the IGI-DAI case officer. There is no legal counsellor providing legal counselling to asylum seekers in detention who works in the centre on a daily basis. Lawyers cannot contact their clients by phone, as the detainees are not allowed to have personal phones in detention and may only use their phone upon request if it has no camera. Lawyers may only access them if they visit them or if the clients have free minutes left to talk on the phone. Meetings are held in private rooms.



[1]        Article 19^16(2) Asylum Act.

[2]        Information provided by CNRR, 10 February 2021.

[3]        Information provided by CNRR, 10 February 2021

Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the main changes since the first report
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection
  • ANNEX I – Transposition of the CEAS in national legislation