Free legal assistance and representation is provided by refugee counsellors under the same conditions as in other cases of judicial review (see Regular Procedure: Legal Assistance). No additional condition to access free legal assistance is imposed in detention cases.
In practice, assistance in accessing refugee counsellors used to be provided by PIC lawyers who represented the applicants in first instance procedures. In April 2020, the AMIF project through which PIC lawyers provided legal help and representation was terminated. PIC continued with the activities with limited capacity. Asylum seekers without legal representation in the first instance had problems with accessing the assistance of refugee legal counsellors in practice. Together with the detention order asylum seekers were given a list of refugee legal counsellors, and instructed that they must obtain the help of refugee counsellors by themselves. If they did not obtain a refugee counsellor themselves, they could call the Migration Office and the official would provide one for them.
Due to language barriers, illiteracy, lack of access to a telephone and a short deadline for the appeal, some asylum seekers could not appeal their detention order. In some cases, asylum seekers obtained more than one refugee counsellor and more than one appeal was lodged at the Administrative Court. The Migration directorate did not obtain information on whether an individual has managed to ensure the representation of a refugee legal counsellor, and therefore often did not provide individuals with one in practice.
In accordance with established practice, lawyers can meet with their clients in detention even outside of the daily visitation hours. PIC lawyers are available to detained applicants by telephone and usually meet with them in person a few times per month.