Basic legal knowledge

As a guardian you have a role to play in various legal procedures that the child may be involved in. In general terms, you have to:

  • inform the child of his or her right to legal advice and representation;
  • ensure that a legal representative be appointed and free legal advice provided whenever the child is entitled to it;
  • monitor the work of professionals providing legal assistance and representation;
  • facilitate communication between the child and such professionals when necessary, including by taking steps to organise the presence of a qualified interpreter;
  • where necessary, accompany the child and actively participate in interviews and hearings with the child.

In addition to these general tasks, you may also have a more specific role, depending on the type of procedure and the individual child’s situation. This could involve administrative, civil or criminal procedures1. In order to be able to monitor the progress of the legal procedures that the child is involved in (and to take responsibility for the well-being of the child), it is vital to have general knowledge on child protection and migration legislation and policies in Europe in general, and in your country more specifically.

Make sure you gain general knowledge on:

  • guardianship;
  • international protection and residence permits;
  • reception;
  • other civil and criminal procedures;
  • privacy and data protection.
  • Information


    Migration and asylum is in the policy portfolio of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs. This includes issues related to legal and irregular migration, integration, re-admission and return. Information can be found here.

    Information on the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) can be found here.


    The Ministry of Migration Policy provides basic legal knowledge for asylum seekers and refugees in Greece here. Basic legal knowledge for unaccompanied children in Greece can be found here. Basic legal knowledge for people who are under detention is available here. Other valuable information for asylum seekers and refugees in Greece is provided through UNHCR and can be found here.

    The Netherlands

    General information on the Dutch asylum system can be found on the website of the Immigration and Naturalisation Service at the Ministry of Justice and Security.

  • Training and tools

    Tool: knowledge framework for guardians

    The Scottish Guardianship Service developed a Practice Manual in 2013 which includes a helpful knowledge framework for guardians in Appendix 4 (pages 90-94).


  • Good practices

    The Netherlands

    Nidos trains its guardians in basic legal knowledge of guardianship, international protection and residence permits, other civil and criminal procedures, and privacy and data protection. Guardians are also provided with training on how to advocate for the child’s needs in court. The guardians can consult an in-house legal helpdesk, and use an electronic file that helps them to monitor the progress of the procedures that the child is involved in.