Legal aid panels

Refugee law panel standards

Lawyers who represent legal aid clients must belong to the panel(s) for the type(s) of law they practice. Panel standards help ensure 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 standards for lawyers conducting first-instance Refugee Protection Division (RDP) and immigration work.

  • Appellate 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

Refugee lawyers who want to apply to be on one of the refugee panels should download the refugee & immigration standard form. For further information, go to our refugee and immigration standards guidelines.

Some refugee lawyers, such as new calls or lawyers whose work raises quality concerns, will be given time to comply with certain conditions in order to meet panel standards.

Lawyers who require mentoring can work with:

  • a mentor from LAO’s second chair program for private bar lawyers working on LAO-funded cases


  • an LAO-approved in-firm mentor, who works at the same firm as the applicant, in which case the mentor does not receive financial compensation for mentoring


LAO has developed the following materials to support panel standards implementation and high quality client service: