Free legal assistance is provided by law to both detained persons and asylum seekers in general. Nonetheless, several obstacles faced by lawyers and interpreters to access the CIE have been reported. This is mainly due to shortcomings regarding social and legal assistance and difficulties in external communications as stated in the section regarding Access to Detention Facilities.
The adoption of the CIE Regulation in 2014 has improved the situation, however, as it defines the rules and modalities for access of lawyers and NGOs into the centres. The provisions regarding the collaboration of NGOs in the provision of social and assistance (including legal) services inside the centres also goes in the same direction. In different parts of the territory, collaboration contracts have been issued for free legal assistance of detained persons with the Red Cross and the Spanish Bar Association.
The main reported criticisms on legal assistance and access to international protection for third-country nationals who have been issued a removal order (and wait for the procedure within detention) concern the lack of information on the asylum procedure at the time the person enters the centre, and the short timeframe of the urgent procedure applied to asylum claims made in detention, as they require a fast reaction to official notifications, which is hard to realise when the applicant is detained.