Legal Resources

This page provides information on LEGAL CONTACTS – to facilitate access to free legal assistance – and LEGAL RESOURCES – to offer the information necessary for legal service providers in adjudicating a Refugee Status Determination (RSD) claim. Under Legal Resources, we gather International Legal Instruments in Refugee Law, relevant General Resources, RSD Specific Resources, a collection of Case Law Databases, and information on how to access Regional Human Rights Bodies.


General Resources

The Protection Manual is UNHCR’s repository of protection policy and guidance. It is updated whenever a new protection policy or guidance document is published, and can thus be relied upon to represent the latest UNHCR protection policy / guidance. 

The Global Compact on Refugees is a framework affirmed on 17 December 2018 by the United Nations General Assembly for more predictable and equitable responsibility-sharing, recognizing that a sustainable solution to refugee situations cannot be achieved without international cooperation. It provides a blueprint for governments, international organizations, and other stakeholders to ensure that host communities get the support they need and that refugees can lead productive lives. It’s four key objectives are to:

  • Ease the pressures on host countries;
  • Enhance refugee self-reliance;
  • Expand access to third-country solutions;
  • Support conditions in countries of origin for return in safety and dignity.
Find more information about it here

RSD Specific Resources

This collection of standards, guidelines, articles, and other documents support legal representatives to inform their representation of applicants with mental health needs, as well as psychologists and psychiatrists in their preparation of mental health assessments and reports.

This document builds on resources gathered by AMERA in collaboration with St. Andrew’s Refugee Services, Egypt. For more information visit our Therapeutic Legal Assistance Model and Mental Health Reports in Legal Processes pages.

The provision of medical evidence in Refugee Status Determination (RSD) procedures is fraught with challenges. Medical reports documenting asylum seekers’ physical and/or mental health are increasingly being used within RSD proceedings as objective evidence to support asylum claims. For more information, visit our dedicated page.

An approach for conducting RSD adjudication that supports wellbeing is through accompanying psychosocial support. Information and materials on the importance of psychosocial support before, during and after refugee status determination is provided here

Understanding and application of psychological science in the asylum process is important to ensure that adjudication is fair, lessening the risk of denying protection to refugees. On this page we present a brief introduction to the psychological research that can be drawn on in representing people seeking international protection and adjudication of claims. You will also find links to further resources.

Asylum seekers have the right to legal representation at all stages of the RSD procedure and may have a legal representative accompany them to their interviews at UNHCR. This guide is intended to assist legal advocates to provide the best possible advocacy during the RSD interviews at UNHCR.

Case Law Databases

This page provides a list of online databases which gather domestic and international case law as well as specific case law by country or region.

Regional Human Rights Bodies and International Courts

States and their institutions can often fail to provide adequate help for refugees and asylum seekers. When a decision reached by a state is considered to be in breach of regional rules regarding the adequate treatment of refugees and asylum seekers, it is possible to challenge that decision before regional human rights bodies. See below to find information on each region.

The Inter-American system of human rights is composed of three main bodies, the Organization of American States (OAS), the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. Find more information on how to access the Inter-American system here.

The Arab Human Rights Committee of the Arab League (Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen) is the treaty body established in 2009 to oversee the implementation of the Arab Charter on Human Rights.

The lack of an enforcement mechanism of the Charter was solved by the creation of the Arab Court of Human Rights, a body that has jurisdiction over human rights complaints brought against States by other States. Complaints can also be brought by non-governmental organizations, if the relevant State additionally accepts that jurisdiction. However, it fails to provide for a direct right of individual petition.

In Asia, there is the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), an independent, non-governmental body, which seeks to promote greater awareness and realization of human rights in the Asian region, and to mobilize Asian and international public opinion to obtain relief and redress for the victims of human rights violations.

Moreover, some countries of the Asian continent are also signatories to the ASEAN Charter aimed at promoting and protecting human rights. Its members created the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) in 2009, which later passed the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration (AHRD).

The African Human Rights System (AHRS) includes the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR), the African Court on Human Peoples’ Rights (AfCHPR), and the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC). These bodies assess States’ compliance with human rights standards, including by deciding individual complaints of human rights violations. Find more information on how to access the African system here.

In Europe, the main judicial organ responsible for defining and overseeing States’ compliance with their regional human rights obligations is the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), created under the auspices of the Council of Europe (CoE). Find more information on how to access the ECtHR here.

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) is the supreme court of the European Union in matters of European Union law. Find more information on how to access the ECJ here.

We are always looking to expand the resources on our platform. If you know about relevant resources, or you are aware of organisations and individuals to include in our directories, please get in touch.

Last updated January 2023