Refugees are advised to read and take serious note of this report and its recommendations, especially if they are applying for asylum in Europe. Those who are providing refugees with legal assistance, especially in Europe, should note the conclusions and recommendations.

The ‘Early Legal Advice’ research project was undertaken in Ireland to examine the provision of legal advice to people seeking international protection in three EU Member States: Estonia, the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom.

The report is aimed at assisting those advocating for legal advice as part of the asylum process and those required to implement the Asylum Procedures Directive. For refugees, this report highlights the importance of preparing and submitting an early, high quality asylum claim, or in the case of rejection, an appeal.

This legal advice is intended to assist the process of trying to ensure that the experience of claiming asylum and the task of the decision maker are not made harder by misunderstandings, mistrust and an inability or unwillingness to engage in what can be a very intrusive process.

This report looks at what understandings of early legal advice exist and what level of commitment there is to provide quality legal advice at the beginning of the asylum process. The results are varied and perspectives differ even within the individual countries which were examined for the national reports. But the overriding view was that early legal advice can assist in ensuring that the right decisions are made at the earliest opportunity.