Assistance of a lawyer
An applicant for international protection can be assisted by a lawyer at every stage of the procedure, except during the registration of the application at the IO. Applicants for international protection can ask at a legal assistance bureau to be assigned a lawyer free of charge.
The lawyer cannot intervene during the personal interview. At the end of the interview, (s)he can comment on the content and the course of the personal interview.
The lawyer can ask to look into the applicant’s file and can request copies of the notes of the personal interview in order to prepare an appeal.
Assistance of a trusted person
A trusted person is a person chosen by the applicant to assist him/her during the asylum procedure and has to be professionally qualified in assisting persons or specialized in aliens’ law.
Examples of trusted persons:
- social workers
- representatives of NGOs with knowledge of asylum matters
- psychologists or therapists.
The following are not allowed to act as a trusted person: voluntary workers of an organization specialized in assisting persons or in aliens’ law, the applicant’s next of kin to the third degree, applicants for international protection, persons sentenced for an offense involving minors and victims of such an offense.
If the trusted person wants to attend the personal interview, (s)he must complete the form ‘Appointment of a trusted person’ (https://www.cgrs.be/en/forms), preferably in advance. When a person is not sure if (s)he qualifies as a trusted person or not, (s)he can contact the Helpdesk for lawyers, trusted persons and the UNHCR at the CGRS.
The trusted person gives moral support to the applicant. Like the lawyer, (s)he cannot intervene during the personal interview. However, at the end of the personal interview, (s)he can comment on the content or the course of the personal interview.
The trusted person is not allowed to consult the file in the absence of the applicant for international protection. (S)he does not receive an invitation to assist at an interview at the CGRS. It is up to the applicant to keep the trusted person informed.
Lawyers, trusted persons, guardians and UNHCR representatives can turn to the Helpdesk for lawyers, trusted persons and UNHCR for:
- notifications about an intervention and designation
- questions about the asylum procedure
- questions about an individual asylum case for which they are empowered
- requests for access to or receive copies of an asylum file.