Article 23 — Scope of legal assistance and representation
- Member States shall ensure that a legal adviser or other counsellor admitted or permitted as such under national law, who assists or represents an applicant under the terms of national law, shall enjoy access to the information in the applicant’s file upon the basis of which a decision is or will be made.
Member States may make an exception where disclosure of information or sources would jeopardise national security, the security of the organisations or person(s) providing the information or the security of the person(s) to whom the information relates or where the investigative interests relating to the examination of applications for international protection by the competent authorities of the Member States or the international relations of the Member States would be compromised. In such cases, Member States shall:
- make access to such information or sources available to the authorities referred to in Chapter V; and
- establish in national law procedures guaranteeing that the applicant’s rights of defence are respected.
In respect of point (b), Member States may, in particular, grant access to such information or sources to a legal adviser or other counsellor who has undergone a security check, insofar as the information is relevant for examining the application or for taking a decision to withdraw international protection.
- Member States shall ensure that the legal adviser or other counsellor who assists or represents an applicant has access to closed areas, such as detention facilities and transit zones, for the purpose of consulting that applicant, in accordance with Article 10(4) and Article 18(2)(b) and (c) of Directive 2013/33/EU.
- Member States shall allow an applicant to bring to the personal interview a legal adviser or other counsellor admitted or permitted as such under national law.
Member States may stipulate that the legal adviser or other counsellor may only intervene at the end of the personal interview.
- Without prejudice to this Article or to Article 25(1)(b), Member States may provide rules covering the presence of legal advisers or other counsellors at all interviews in the procedure.
Member States may require the presence of the applicant at the personal interview, even if he or she is represented under the terms of national law by a legal adviser or counsellor, and may require the applicant to respond in person to the questions asked.