Immigration barristers volunteer legal assistance for Ukrainian refugees

Immigration barristers volunteer legal assistance for Ukrainian refugees

Denise Brett SC

Immigration barristers in Ireland have joined colleagues from across the European Union in offering pro bono legal assistance to Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasion.

The Immigration, Asylum & Citizenship Bar Association (IACBA) is coordinating and inviting practitioners to participate on a register of EU lawyers to assist immigration and refugee NGOs and civil society organisations.

The nature of this emergency assistance can relate to the legal complexities in respect of Temporary Protection Directive (TPD) immigration, applications for international protection or other issues relating to permission to enter and to remain in the State.

Expertise in many other relevant areas of law which would be of interest to new arrivals, on an emergency basis, include social welfare, housing, employment, education law.

Maura McNally SC, chair of the Bar Council, said: “This initiative is aimed at delivering for NGOs and those on the frontline of this invasion; assisting with their capacity to deal with what is emerging as the largest exodus in Europe since World War II.

“Barristers have a history of contributing to the war effort then, and are doing so again in what is hoped to be a significant way.”

Denise Brett SC, chair of IACBA, said: “A crisis such as this, which sees the large scale sudden movement of millions as a result of an invasion, calls on us all to contribute in whatever way we can.

“As barristers who are expert in some of the key legal areas of concern to any persons fleeing the conflict, and seeking safety in Ireland, IACBA through The Bar of Ireland and the Council of European Bars (CCBE) are ideally placed to assist.

“Most recently Ireland has joined Ukraine to the list of visa-exempt countries for travel to this State, which is of huge assistance to immigrants. The State has also activated the Temporary Protection Directive which provides a new avenue by which meaningful assistance can be offered by Ireland.

“With our panel of pro-bono practitioners, together with our European colleagues, relevant migrant and refugee organisations, we hope to be a resource to those fleeing the invasion and considering refuge in Ireland.”

Barristers can participate and offer legal assistance on a pro bono emergency basis by providing their details and their area of legal specialism as well as any language proficiency to

NGOs and partnering EU bar associations will have available to them a resource of expert counsel in order to assist those fleeing the Ukraine crisis seeking particular assistance in coming to Ireland.

Where an NGO or bar association registers a query, it will be triaged and assigned to one of the volunteering barristers who then will be the primary contact on an individual’s matter.

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