Following up periodically on your case is imperative not only for case management but also for outcome collection. The current page will address the importance of case follow-up for case management processes. For information about outcome collection, please see the Monitoring and Evaluation pages in the Legal Services Program Management section as well as the page on Outcome Monitoring.
Case follow-up may involve a combination of calling relevant institutions or decision-making bodies, and the client themselves.
The latter is preferable as it promotes the client’s empowerment: they should be encouraged to take control of their own case by drawing up schedules, attending hearings and picking up decisions or other documents as required. You should then ask the client how the case has progressed.
Follow-up can be facilitated by a legal aid database: make sure you set follow-up dates at regular intervals for each case, depending on the decision time frame. Set reminders for these follow-up dates and stick to them.
It is important to have your client’s up-to-date details on file. In many situations, however, refugees are obliged to move house regularly (on account of insecurity, discrimination, limited resources, interference from authorities) and so their address may not remain current for long. The same applies to phone numbers: if a refugee has a phone, it may easily be stolen, lost or damaged. Therefore, it is good practice to record alternative contact details: the address and phone number of a friend, relative, neighbor or alternative service provider where a message can be left. It must be the address/number of someone with whom the refugee is confident letting you speak and leave potentially sensitive information.
Follow-up is crucial for building client trust and cementing your organization’s reputation. It can also help identify further issues relating to refugee rights that may present themselves over time, and which were not the substance of an initial case. It is up to you to enquire as to the client’s current situation – oftentimes refugees will not have the time or resources to visit your office regularly to seek further advice.