Asylum: Detainees

Home Office written question – answered on 12th March 2015.

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Photo of Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb Green

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the light of asylum seekers being detained under powers in the Immigration Acts, what access they have to statutory, free and independent forms of advocacy on an individual basis, excluding legal representation.

Photo of Lord Bates Lord Bates The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

All asylum applicants are directed to a range of sources of advice and support offered by non-governmental organisations. However we consider that statutory access to free and independent forms of advocacy is best delivered through providing the asylum applicant with the opportunity to consult a legal representative at his or her own, or public expense (in accordance with provision made by the Legal Aid Agency) or otherwise. This could be a barrister, solicitor or adviser; all however must be qualified to provide advice under Section 84 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 to ensure that the advice offered is of the sufficient quality.

Safeguards exist for those entering detention through the Detention Duty Advice scheme which was set up by the Legal Aid Agency to provide access to legal advice in detention centres. The scheme provides free legal advice under legal aid for people held in immigration detention, who cannot afford a fee-paying private legal adviser or who are no longer represented by a duty solicitor.

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