Refugee Law Clinic
#Legal advice #Asylum and residence law #Access to law #Legal Tech
The Refugee Law Clinic Berlin e.V. (RLC Berlin) is a student association at the Humboldt University of Berlin. We offer free and independent legal advice for refugees and migrants in Berlin and legal information on the Greek island of Samos.
Every year in the winter semester our multi-part further education cycle begins. Within this framework, courses on asylum and residence law are held in both semesters to provide engaged and interested people with a basic theoretical and case-related knowledge. An internship in a specialised law firm or counselling centre and work experience in an existing counselling team complement the further training. After the one-year cycle and a selection procedure, the new counsellors are distributed among our 10 counselling teams in Berlin. Under legal supervision and guidance, the acquired knowledge is finally put into practice, which at the same time creates free legal counselling services for those seeking advice.
Our teams provide counselling at the university as well as in various voluntary institutions as well as accommodation in Berlin. In addition to general consultation hours, we also offer special counselling only for women or LGBTQI persons as well as counselling for cases of family reunification. A new project of the RLC Berlin is the "Bus of Resources", which is intended to provide long-term remote accommodation in Berlin and Brandenburg and which offers not only legal but also psycho-social counselling.
We regularly hold events and workshops at the university. It is important to us to deal with the complex topics concerning asylum and migration in an interdisciplinary manner at the Faculty of Law, with discussion events, film screenings, readings and theatre performances. We can always work together with cooperation partners from the Humboldt University and civil society. In addition, our workshops offer all interested parties, lecture participants and our counsellors the opportunity to deepen their knowledge and gain practical insights into counselling work.
The publication "RLC Journal", which we launched in early 2019, publishes exciting articles from the context of asylum and migration. There you can find interdisciplinary and multi-perspective reports from various areas: i.e. from consulting practice, academia and from abroad.
Since February 2018, our legal information project on Samos has been conducting hearing preparations and legal information workshops as well as providing information on family reunification. The project was founded by association members in response to the European externalisation policy.
In September 2019, individual members of the team on Samos began filing applications for temporary legal protection at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in order to support those in particular need of protection on Samos. If the ECtHR sees an impending human rights violation, it can order the Greek government to act before the main hearing takes place.
With the outbreak of Corona, the team on Samos had to leave the island and interrupt their work on the ground. In these circumstances, members of the association developed the Legal Tech application I Have Rights), which is designed to facilitate access to justice even during lockdown. On www.IHaveRights.eu refugees receive information about their legal situation and can fill in a form with information about their living conditions. A team in Berlin evaluates the case and - if all the requirements are met - after discussions with the future applicant, send an application to the ECtHR. During our media campaign for www.IHaveRights.eu in August 2020 we were able to draw the attention of many people to our online tool through newspaper articles in the TAZ or the Tagesspiegel.
Ultimately, we will continue to offer our voluntary service as long as German and European administrative practice is inadequate. But we make it clear that volunteers cannot permanently compensate for governmental grievances. Our long-term goal is always our own abolition.
Would you like to learn more about asylum and residence law?
A new training cycle begins with each winter semester - contact us!
c/o Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
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c/o Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (Juristische Fakultät) Unter den Linden 9
Greta Wessing (1. Chairwoman)
Nora Gohrt (2. Chairwoman)
Jakob Feddersen (Treasurer)