The applicant may seek assistance from a lawyer at each stage of the procedure, except when registering his application (at the IO). Applicants have a right to free legal assistance, which has to be requested at a legal assistance bureau.
The applicant can also choose a lawyer by himself. In that case, he has to pay the lawyer’s fees. Therefore it is important for the applicant to make clear agreements in advance about the costs.
The lawyer is not allowed to intervene in the interview. At the end of the interview, he may comment on the content and the course of the interview.
The lawyer can ask to consult the file of his client and can request photocopies of the interview report in order to prepare a possible appeal.
Assistance by the trusted person
A trusted person is someone who assists the applicant during the asylum procedure on the basis of his professional knowledge.
Examples of trusted persons are:
- social workers
- representatives of NGOs with expertise on asylum
If the trusted person would like to be present at the interview, he must fill in the form ‘Appointing a trusted person’, preferably in advance (www.cgra.be/en/forms). In case of doubt whether a person qualifies as a trusted person, he can contact the CGRS Helpdesk lawyers, trusted persons and UNHCR.
The trusted person gives moral and practical support to the applicant. Like the lawyer, he cannot intervene during the interview. At the end of the interview, he can comment on the content and the course of the interview.
The trusted person may not consult the file in the absence of the asylum seeker. He does not receive invitation to assist at an interview at the CGRS. It is the task of the asylum seeker to keep the trusted person informed.
Lawyers, trusted persons, representatives, and responsible persons from UNHCR can get in touch with the Helpdesk lawyers, trusted persons and UNHCR:
- for notifications about interventions and appointments
- for questions about the asylum procedure
- for questions about an individual asylum file for which they are mandated
- with requests for access to or copies of an asylum file.