The European Lawyers in Lesvos gGmbH i.G. is a non-profit organisation that provides pro bono legal assistance. It was founded by the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE) and the German Bar Association (DAV). These organisations represent the bars and law societies of 32 member countries and 13 further associate and observer countries across Europe, and through them more than 1 million European lawyers.
Its main aim is to send European asylum lawyers to the island of Lesvos to support Greek lawyers in the provision of legal assistance to individuals applying for international protection. The volunteer lawyers support, and work closely with, their colleagues from the Greek Bar Associations.
We believe that every person seeking international protection should be able to receive legal assistance, at no cost, from an independent lawyer specialised in asylum law. We believe that access to independent pro bono legal assistance is a fundamental right and that the provision of independent pro bono legal assistance is absolutely vital to ensuring that due process is followed and the rule of law is upheld.
There is great uncertainty amongst the more than 8,500 applicants for international protection on Lesvos about their legal entitlements. Many have a limited understanding of the asylum process, the criteria that are applied and their rights, and many attend their first instance interview without having spoken to a lawyer and are unaware of the possibility of reunification with their family in other EU member states.
We believe that the only way to ensure that individuals seeking international protection on Lesvos are able to realise their rights and to present their applications for international protection in a way that reflects their need for international protection is for such individuals to be able to receive free legal assistance from an independent lawyer specialised in asylum law before their first instance asylum interview.
Through our activities, we aim to ensure that every person on Lesvos who is seeking international protection is able to receive legal assistance, at no cost, from an independent, volunteer European lawyer specialised in asylum law in relation to their first instance asylum interview and/or family reunification application under the Dublin Regulation, as appropriate.
The European Lawyers in Lesvos gGmbH i.G. is a non-profit organisation. It has a Managing Director (Philip Worthington) and a Supervisory Board, the Chair of which is Professor Vassilios Skouris. Its registered office is Littenstraße 11, 10179 Berlin.
The Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE) is an organisation which represents the bars and law societies of 45 countries, and through them more than 1 million European lawyers. It is recognised as the voice of the European legal profession by the national bars and law societies on the one hand, and by the EU institutions on the other. It acts as the liaison between the EU and Europe’s national bars and law societies.
The German Bar Association is the independent organisation of German lawyers. Based on voluntary membership, the German Bar Association (Deutscher Anwaltverein, DAV) represents German lawyers and notary lawyers in all economic, public and professional interests as well as policy questions related to the rule of law. The DAV observes political and confessional neutrality and places great emphasis on respect for human rights and the rule of law. Furthermore, it promotes gender equality. Together with the German Federal Bar (Bundesrechtsanwaltskammer, BRAK), the DAV represents the German legal profession in the CCBE.