Referrals and Appointments

Whether you are taking a case on or not, you may need to refer the client to other service providers to meet their non-legal needs. These are often more pressing than resolving the client’s legal `migration status or human rights claims.

You must build up a directory of referral organizations as soon as possible. This involves mapping local service providers and building relationships with as many as possible in order to ensure pro-bono attention for refugees.

Referral directories should be regularly updated with contact numbers, names and focal points in order to facilitate communication. Services to include:

  • Mental health professionals
  • Health services
  • Subsistence grants
  • Shelters
  • Free meal providers
  • Livelihoods support organizations
  • Training and educational opportunities
  • Ombudsmen
  • State services focal points
  • Physical rehabilitation for landmine survivors
  • Language classes
  • Clothes donations
  • Women’s groups
  • Faith groups

Drawing up a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with such service providers may be advisable in order to ensure coordinated assistance and referral procedures between organizations. Referral mechanisms should be established: official channels, information requirements and time-frames. Many organizations already have established referral procedures and forms: keep these on file.

More detailed referral procedures can be found in the Referrals section.


Note that it may be necessary for you to book the client an appointment with another service provider yourself, as they may not have access to the internet or be able to make phone calls, due to financial or linguistic barriers, or fear of navigating institutional procedures.

Make sure the client knows when and where their appointment with your partner service provider is, and how to get there. You may need to print off maps and write down directions and instructions, and check that your client understands by asking them to repeat the route and time back to you.

Print small appointment cards to be given to clients with the essential information regarding their appointment: time, place, service, staff member who made the referral / took the booking / will see your client.

Your organization may decide to provide discretionary funding for clients to travel to appointments at other offices.