Free legal aid

“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated,

since you also are in the body.”

The Legal Clinic for Refugees and Immigrants holds weekly drop-in hours for consultations and discussions with refugees and immigrants who seek legal assistance or a better understanding of their circumstances and rights under law.  Clinic members also provide legal counseling and assistance to detained refugees, asylum seekers, and immigrants at the Busmanci detention center through weekly visits.


Free assistance is provided for:

1)  Administrative procedures before the state bodies: In accordance with Art.56 of the Bulgarian Constitution, “every citizen has the right to defense, when his rights and legal interests have been infringed or threatened. Before the state organs he might appear with a defender.”  Our activities center around the administrative procedures stipulated in the Law on Asylum and Refugees and in the Law on Aliens, as well as other legal motions under the Bulgarian legislation;

2) Judicial procedures: Clinic members write appeals and other documents, check information with the court secretariat, and prepare written court defenses.

The practical experience students gain provides a critical contribution to their education, and for many, this experience is the most valuable aspect of their time at the Clinic.  The Clinics small size coupled with the high demand for the services provided ensures that students experience the entire process of a case, from introduction though to conclusion.  This experience builds confidence and independence which becomes dramatically visible as the year progresses.  Students acquire full responsibility for their client (accompanied by preparatory coursework and in-house supervision), and often invest great amounts of time in their cases: doing thorough country of origin research, gathering information about national and foreign case law, and drafting arguments. The relationship between students and clients develops as a valuable two-way exchange, as students accept a long-term assistance role, enabling them to monitor developments over time, hone their legal argumentation skills, and cultivate case management and organizational capabilities.  The Clinic often provides students a first experience in legal assistance and many develop strong interest in utilizing law as an instrument for justice and social change.  All of the students activities are closely monitored and assisted by the Clinic so as to ensure proper process and respect for the clients.

Thus far the Legal Clinic for Refugees and Immigrants has directly provided free legal aid to people coming from: Algeria, Angola, Armenia, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Burundi, Cuba, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Georgia, Ghana, Guinea, India, Iran, Nigeria, Pakistan, Palestine, the Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Russia, Somalia, Tanzania, Turkey, Ukraine, Western Sahara, and Zambia.


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