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Model Rules of Ethics for Legal Advisors in Refugee Cases


3.1 Advisors shall in all cases clearly explain to prospective clients whether they can officer services of any kind, and shall provide clear explanations of the type of service they offer. The objectives and scope of any advisorclient relationship shall be explicit before the advisor begins to conduct any work on the case, and before the client is asked to agree to the representation.

3.2 In order to maximize impact, legal aid providers may limit their services. For instance some agencies may provide only advice or document preparation, or may focus their services on particular types of clients who either have particularly acute needs or whose cases raise especially important legal issues. However, advisors must inform clients of any limits in the services to be provided at the beginning of the advisor-client relationship.

3.3 Notwithstanding Rule 3.4, a legal adviser is under no obligation to provide services to a prospective client, and may decide to decline to provide assistance unless prohibited by Rule 3.4.

3.4 Subject to the provisions of rule 3.2, legal advisers shall not deny services to any person on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation, nationality, political opinion, religion, age, family status, indigence or membership in a particular social group.

3.5 Advisor-Client relationships may begin only with the voluntary, informed consent of the client, and may continue only if this consent continues. A client may end his or her relationship with a legal advisor by clear and explicit communication, orally or in writing. An allegation by a client of ethical misconduct against an advisor shall be presumed to indicate that the client no longer consents to continuing the advisor-client relationship.

3.6 Clients should remain in control of the goals of representation. If at some point during the advisor and client relationship, the client and advisor are unable to agree on the goals or strategies of representation the advisor may withdraw from representation.

3.7 Clients shall be entitled to view and obtain copies of all materials in their files. Legal advisors shall provide copies of the materials to the client upon the client’s request, during or after the end of the advisor-client relationship. However, advisors may maintain records of their work on a client’s case, and are not required to destroy files, even if requested by a client.

3.8 The legal advisor shall notify the adjudicating body in writing when the advisor client relationship has terminated.

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