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Frequently Asked Questions

Refugee Documentation Centre FAQs 

1. What is the Refugee Documentation Centre?

The Refugee Documentation Centre (RDC) was established in late 2000 as an independent unit providing COI (Country of Origin Information) research to actors involved in the international protection process. The RDC is part of the Information and Communications Directorate within the Legal Aid Board.

2. What does it do?

The RDC provides a COI Query service in the form of COI Query Responses. Query Responses are completed in line with the EU Common Guidelines for Processing Country of Origin Information and the EUAA Report Methodology. It also prepares Country Information Packs on select countries annually.

Sources used to answer queries include subscription databases, internet sources, and national and international contacts. Our query responses include a fully referenced list of sources cited.

3. Who may avail of the Research and Query service offered by the RDC?

The query service is available to staff of the Legal Aid Board and staff within the Department of Justice. The service is also open to solicitors on the Legal Aid Board’s International Protection Solicitors Panel and to barristers on the Legal Aid Board’s International Protection sub-panel for Barristers.

Information packs on specific countries are available to all users.

4. How do I complete and submit a query form?

You can access the online query form or email us at:  research@legalaidboard.ie

5. How should I word a query to get the best possible information?

All queries to the RDC should be phrased using impartial and neutral language.  Our role is to source factual information relating to the human rights, security, political, societal, economic, legal, humanitarian, cultural, and geographic conditions in countries of origin.

Our task is to provide relevant, reliable, balanced, accurate and verifiable country of origin information.

When submitting a query to us, please phrase your questions as clearly as possible Please avoid very general questions (e.g. Can you provide information on Syria?) or questions which are so specific that the likelihood of information being available is minimal (e.g. What is the colour of the latrine walls in the prison on the outskirts of Malanje?)    

6. How long does it take to answer a query?

The RDC requires a minimum of 5 days to answer a query. If for any reason your deadline cannot be met, a member of our team will contact you to discuss. If a revised deadline is acceptable to you, this will then be arranged. All queries subject to a statutory deadline should be clearly marked as such when submitting to the RDC.

For further information on our services, contact us on research@legalaidboard.ie