The Asylum Support Appeals Project (ASAP) aims to reduce destitution among asylum seekers by protecting their legal rights to food and shelter. It provides free legal advice and representation to asylum seekers at the Asylum Support Tribunal, runs an advice line, advisors network and training for agencies and engages in policy work to improve asylum support law.
There is no public funding for legal representation in this area and ASAP is the only organisation providing this service to appellants from across the UK. Since 2009, Herbert Smith Freehills advocates have volunteered at ASAP's duty scheme at the Asylum Support Tribunal in East London, representing clients who are appealing Home Office decisions to refuse or discontinue their housing, financial support, or both. Advocates undertake extensive training including shadowing current advocates and attending hearings at the Tribunal, to prepare for the challenges of running a case on their own within a short timeframe and ensure that they are delivering high quality advice. Volunteers put together submissions; meet and brief clients before and after the Tribunal; draft letters of advice; and liaise with other teams involved in the client's case.
"Volunteering with ASAP has given me a new perspective outside of “city law” life. Before this I had never met anyone who had sought asylum – I had only read about asylum seekers in the press."
Tom Henderson, Herbert Smith Freehills