Italy: Ruling from Regional Administrative Court of Campania on access to legal aid for asylum seekers

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

On 20 March 2019, the Regional Administrative Court of Campania released a ruling to annul the decision to withdraw the reception conditions of an asylum applicant and re-affirmed their right to legal assistance and representation.

The asylum applicant in the present case was resident in a reception centre in Campania. The reception centre reported that the applicant had abandoned the facility without explanation and without communicating his new address. As a result, the centre decided to withdraw the reception conditions. This decision was justified under Article 23 (1) (a) of Legislative Decree no. 142/2015 which transposes Directive 2013/33/EU, wherein conditions are withdrawn if the applicant leaves the designated reception centre without prior motivated communication to the competent Prefecture. In addition, when the applicant sought to appeal this decision, he was denied access to legal assistance.

The Court first found that the applicant had informed the Prefecture of the intention to leave the Centre for the purposes of employment both attaching the communication of employment and indicating his new address. It therefore held that this was not an unjustified abandonment of the reception centre.

The applicant was denied legal aid to appeal the decision as he did not provide the necessary document from his consular authority to certify the required income conditions, which can only exceptionally be substituted by a self-declaration. The Court noted that in the present case, however, the withdrawal of the reception conditions entailed the suspension of the examination of the request for recognition of refugee status. In these circumstances, the Court concluded that the present appeal fell within the combined provisions of Article 16 (2) of Legislative Decree 25/2008 and of Presidential Decree 115/2002 establishing the right to legal assistance and representation for the asylum procedure. The Court thus recognized that the right to legal assistance in this case fell under the rights established in Article 16 (2), under which asylum applicants should have access to legal assistance throughout their application for international protection and ordered the admission to the applicant to legal aid.

Based on an unofficial translation by the ELENA Weekly Legal Update. Many thanks to Sofia Bonatti, Senior Legal Officer at ECRE, for helping us with the translation.


This item was reproduced with the permission of ECRE from the ELENA Weekly Legal Update. The purpose of these updates is to inform asylum lawyers and legal organizations supporting asylum seekers and refugees of recent developments in the field of asylum law. Please note that the information provided is taken from publicly available information on the internet. Every reasonable effort is made to make the content accurate and up to date at the time each item is published but no responsibility for its accuracy and correctness, or for any consequences of relying on it, is assumed by ECRE.




Legal assistance / Legal representation / Legal aid
Material reception conditions