How Can You Help? The Legal Process
The legal process for seeking asylum in the UK is complex and not easily understood. However, it is not difficult for the layman to comprehend if it is simplified.
Legal Aid: Although Legal Aid is no longer available for all immigration matters, those seeking asylum are still able to access it if they do not have the means to pay for legal representation themselves. However, the amount of time allowed for representation is restricted, so that asylum seekers do not have a legal representative present at the initial (substantive) hearing of their asylum claim, and may not be represented at the appeal stage if their solicitor does not think they have at least a 50% chance of success.
Legal representation: Having a good solicitor (and a good barrister if the claim goes to appeal at court) is vital, and may be the difference between being granted asylum or being refused and made destitute. However, solicitors cannot within their limited time do all that is required to ensure their client gets the best chance of being accepted as a refugee. Their client has to do a great deal of the work in assembling the evidence for their claim, and having others to help with this can play an important part in a successful application.
How you can help: In order to best help an asylum seeker navigate the tricky legal process, first of all you must understand the basics. The Quick Guide to the legal process will simplify the process and give you links to expert organisations working in the legal sector that can provide further, excellent in-depth information.