Asylum Support Appeals Project

Amount Funded:

£135,000 over three years (made in 2018)


Injustice - systemic change around injustice and inequality

ASAP works to reduce destitution experienced by asylum seekers.

Beneficiary Story

Thank you for representing me at the Hearing. I was very close to erase the word 'hope' from my memory, but now I can easy say it out loud, 'I HOPE'.






In March 2019 ASAP represented Mr A who was extremely vulnerable, with a history of childhood abuse, significant mental health needs, suicidal ideations and a diagnosed personality disorder. This in addition to his immigration insecurity added to his vulnerability.

Mr A needed to show he met criteria demonstrating he was unable to leave the UK through no fault of his own. One criteria was that he was too ill to survive a flight back to his country of origin. Mr A had significant suicide risks related to return, but the Home Office doctors advised that he would survive the flight itself, with an escort to mitigate the risk of suicide and self-harm.

Our advocate presented detailed medical evidence to demonstrate that Mr A was in such poor mental health that he would struggle to make a decision about returning voluntarily to his country. She managed the hearing itself, supporting Mr A throughout to understand what was happening, and explaining to the judge why it was not possible, given his mental state, for him to give detailed evidence.

ASAP’s role, both in increasing Mr A's chances of success at appeal, and in ensuring he was able to cope with the intimidating process of going through an appeal, was key to his receiving a positive decision on appeal, retaining his access to accommodation and basic financial support (asylum support).

Asylum Support Appeals Project

Esmée Fairbairn funding allowed us to expand our core activities, including free legal advice and representation at Asylum Support Tribunals, providing training and capacity building to others in the sector who advise and support asylum seekers. Our advocacy and strategic litigation also expanded to influence policy and practice relating to asylum support.

Through this funding, we planned to represent 600 asylum seekers a year at Asylum Support Tribunals, as well as training 300 individuals a year who advise on asylum support (both professionals and volunteers). We have increased membership of the Asylum Support Advice Network. We were also able to embed procedures to ensure high quality advice and representation is provided to asylum seekers, including challenging unlawful decisions by the Home Office and securing changes in their practice.

Funding also allowed us to identify and influence other policy. Currently, our priorities include improving access to adequate advice and support for asylum support appeals and ensuring effective implementation of guidance on accommodation for people who have been subject to domestic abuse, ensuring they are safe from further risk of harm.

It was really nice to see a member of ASAP with me because after Home Office decision we have started to feel alone. But now we know that we are not alone.

Laura Lines

Grants Manager, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation

ASAP successfully appeals 71% of cases it represents, showing that wrongful decisions are frequently being made in the first instance. Without ASAP the Home Office’s failure to comply with asylum support law and unclear practices and policies would go unchallenged.

ASAP is an expert and the only organisation in the UK to provide legal representation for destitute asylum seekers at tribunals. There is no legal aid provision or government funding for this support.

ASAP builds the capacity of others to improve support and reach whilst also sharing learning through a growing network of advisors.