Legal aid panels
Refugee law panel standards
Only lawyers who belong to a Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) panel can represent legal aid clients. There are different panels for each type of law, and lawyers can belong to more than one. Panel lawyers must meet standards put in place to make sure that legal aid clients receive high-quality services. The standards for each panel provide the experience and professional development requirements that lawyers must meet.
LAO's panel standards for refugee lawyers include:
- General Panel standards for lawyers conducting first‑instance Refugee Protection Division (RDP) and immigration work.
- Appellate Panel standards for lawyers who litigate at the Refugee Appeal Division and Federal Court.
The standards apply to:
- private bar lawyers
- LAO staff lawyers
- LAO staff paralegals
- clinic staff on refugee pilot agreements
How to join a refugee panel
Interested refugee lawyers should download the refugee and immigration standards form and apply to be on one of LAO's refugee panels.
For more information, read LAO's refugee and immigration standards guidelines.
Mentoring support to help refugee lawyers meet the panel standards is available to new calls and other lawyers through:
- LAO's Second Chair Program which connects new calls or lawyers changing their area of focus with senior lawyers working on LAO‑funded cases.
- An LAO‑approved private bar mentor who works at the same firm as the applicant, (the mentor does not receive financial compensation for mentoring).
The following resources will guide you in understanding and meeting panel standards: