The Human Rights Law Program is an independent, not-for-profit Community Legal Centre working within the ASRC which helps people at all stages of the refugee determination process.

The Human Rights Law Program does not receive any federal government funding. There is a team of 14 lawyers working with a large group of volunteers to deliver our holistic legal services. The team also actively engage in policy and law reform, community legal education and training.

The program provides free, expert immigration advice and representation to people seeking asylum.

Eligibility for free legal advice

To be eligible to receive free legal advice from the ASRC, applicants must;

  • Live in Victoria, Australia.
  • Be at risk of persecution and human rights abuses in their home country, and;
  • Not have government-funded legal advice to complete protection visa applications.
You can support the ASRC Human Rights Law Program to give legal assistance for refugees and asylum seekers

How to access legal advice

The ASRC provides free legal advice to people seeking asylum, via phone and face-to-face appointments.

Phone advice

You can phone on Mondays or Thursdays between 2pm and 4pm on (03) 9274 9827.

Face-to-face advice

You can drop into the ASRC Footscray on Tuesdays and Fridays at 10am at 214-218 Nicholson Street Footscray.

Other ways to access legal advice

Please select the options below according to when arrival in Australia occurred.

  • If you are a person seeking asylum who arrived by boat

    1. Fast Track

    If you came by boat between 13 August 2012 and 31 December 2013, you will be part of a new legal process called Fast Track

    The Fast Track process applies only to those who arrived in Australia by boat between 13 August 2012 and 31 December 2013. All applicants should have advice from a lawyer before they lodge an application.

    Click here to see how the ASRC provides assistance to Fast Track applicants.

    Click here for information about Temporary Protection Visas (TPV) and Safe Haven Enterprise Visas (SHEV).

    2. Government-funded legal assistance

    People seeking asylum may be eligible to receive government-funded migration assistance if they arrived in Australia without a valid visa, and are assessed as vulnerable by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection. The Department will contact you if you are eligible for this assistance.

    3. Legal support from the ASRC

    • The ASRC may be able to help with;
    • Applying for a TPV or SHEV with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP)
    • Preparing a statement of claims
    • Accompanying clients to interviews with the DIBP
    • Assistance to review a DIBP decision at the at the Immigration Assessment Authority (IAA)
    • Assistance with applying to the Federal Circuit Court (judicial review) after receiving a negative IAA decision.
    • Responding to correspondence relating to the TPV or SHEV process e.g. from the DIBP or IAA
    • Visa cancellations under section 109 (false information) or section 501 (character)

    To access legal support from the ASRC, you can:

    1. Call the ASRC legal hotline: 2pm – 4pm, Monday or Thursday only on (03) 9274 9827.
    2. Drop into the ASRC: 10am – 3pm, any week day (except Wednesdays) at 214 – 218 Nicholson Street, Footscray.

     

    4. Other organisations that provide legal assistance

    If ASRC is not able to help you, you can contact other organisation who may be able to assist you. Some of these organisations provide services for free, others are private law firms and may charge a fee. For some recommendations of both paid and unpaid, please see;

    If you are a Fast Track applicant, you can also find out more information about getting help with your application from a private law firm in a factsheet provided by the Law Institute of Victoria.

    If you have been granted a permanent protection (subclass 866) visa and need assistance to apply for a visa for your family, you may be able to get some free legal assistance with your sponsorship application. To find out more, please see the Family Reunion  list.

  • If you are a person seeking asylum who arrived by aeroplane

    1. Government-funded legal assistance

    The IAAAS scheme is funded by the Australian government to give free migration advice and visa application assistance to people who have arrived lawfully in Australia and who meet specific eligibility criteria with respect to financial or other vulnerability.

    If you arrived in Australia by plane with a valid visa and need assistance at the primary stage of the refugee determination process (ie applying for protection at the Department of Immigration), you can try contacting the following IAAAS providers, who may be able to assist you for free.

    1. Refugee Legal, (03) 9413 0100,  refugeelegal@refugeelegal.org.au
    2. Sabelberg Morcos Lawyers, (03) 9670 4033, admin@sabelbergs.com.au

     

    2. Legal support from the ASRC

    If you are not eligible for government funded legal assistance, the ASRC may be able to help with;

    • Applying for a permanent protection visa to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP)
    • Preparing a statement of claims
    • Accompanying clients to interviews with the DIBP
    • Assistance to review a DIBP decision at the at the Administrative Appeal Tribunal (AAT)
    • Assistance with applying to Federal Circuit Court (judicial review) after receiving a negative AAT decision.
    • Requesting Ministerial Intervention
    • Responding to correspondence relating to the protection visa process e.g. from the DIBP or AAT
    • Visa cancellations under section 109 (false information) or section 501 (character)

    To access legal support from the ASRC, you can:

    1. Call the ASRC legal hotline: 2pm – 4pm, Monday or Thursday only on (03) 9274 9827.
    2. Drop into the ASRC: 10am – 3pm, on weekdays (except Wednesdays) at 214 – 218 Nicholson Street, Footscray.

     

    3. Other organisations that provide legal assistance

    If ASRC is not able to help you, you can contact other organisation who may be able to assist you. Some of these organisations provide services for free, others are private law firms and may charge a fee. For some recommendations of both paid and unpaid, please see;

    If you are a Fast Track applicant, you can also find out more information about getting help with your application from a private law firm in a factsheet provided by the Law Institute of Victoria.

    If you have been granted a permanent protection (subclass 866) visa and need assistance to apply for a visa for your family, you may be able to get some free legal assistance with your sponsorship application. To find out more, please see the Family Reunion  list.

  • If you are a community legal service provider who is referring a client, please email legal_triage@asrc.org.au with the following information:

    • Full name
    • Date of birth
    • Contact number
    • Country of origin
    • Preferred language
    • Information about the case such as deadlines, legal stage and copies of documents
    • A signed authority from the client to share their information with us;
    • A complete scanned copy of the client’s invitation letter;
    • Whether the client has completed a Freedom Of Information (FOI) request (and if so, date it was lodged, and whether it has been received);
    • Whether the client has a current bridging visa (and if so the expiry date);
    • The client’s contact details; and
    • Any information about particular vulnerabilities and whether the client has tried to access.

    Once you have requested assistance or referred someone their case will be assessed on an individual basis and if eligible, ASRC will offer one or more of the following services:

    • Advice over the phone – We offer phone advice on Mondays and Thursdays between 2pm and 4pm.
    • Weekly legal workshops – Attendance at a legal workshop is by appointment only. These are small group sessions where people learn about the legal process and are supported to prepare a draft of their protection visa application.
    • Advice in our legal clinics – Attendance at a legal clinic is by appointment only. These are one-on-one appointments where we provide people seeking asylum with legal advice in relation to their protection visa application. Generally people must attend a legal workshop before a legal clinic appointment is offered (to maximise one-on-one legal assistance)
    • Full representation – We provide full representation to the most vulnerable clients

    The ASRC can help with;

    • Applying for a protection visa to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP)
    • Preparing a statement of claims
    • Accompanying clients to interviews with the DIBP
    • Assistance to review a DIBP decision at the at the Administrative Appeal Tribunal (AAT)
    • Assistance to review a DIBP decision at the Immigration Assessment Authority (IAA)
    • Assistance with applying to court (judicial review) after receiving a decision from the DIBP, AAT or IAA. This includes applications to the Federal Circuit Court
    • Requesting Ministerial Intervention
    • Responding to correspondence relating to the protection visa process e.g. from the DIBP, AAT or IAA

The Human Rights Law Program comprises the following registered Migration Agents:

  • Carolyn Graydon (Principal) MARN 0105868
  • Noosheen Mogadam (Senior Lawyer) – MARN: 0601572
  • Rachel Anjali Saravanamuthu (Senior Lawyer) – MARN: 1794509
  • Kon Karapanagiotidis (Solicitor) – MARN: 0101919
  • Alice McBurney (Solicitor) – MARN: 1679798
  • Josephine Langbien (Solicitor) – MARN: 1792903
  • Stephanie Pashias (Solicitor) – MARN: 1794636
  • Nhirushni Somasundaram (Solicitor) – MARN: 1572478
  • Jeanne Renuka Senanayake (Solicitor) – MARN: 0852686
  • Emanuela Butera (Solicitor) – MARN: 1387419
  • Laura Chalk (Solicitor) – MARN: 1795004
  • Michaela Rhode (Solicitor) – MARN: 1796054
  • Nicholas Newlands (Solicitor) – MARN: 1797775
  • Shabnum Cassim (Solicitor) -MARN 1572238

Please see the Migration Agents Registered Authority (MARA) Code of Conduct, for more information.