Information for lawyers
For refugee and immigration lawyers
This page includes information and links for refugee lawyers.
LAO’s refugee panel standards
All 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 LAO’s refugee panel provide the experience and professional development requirements that refugee lawyers must meet. They 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.
Deadlines for applying
|Applications due from refugee and immigration lawyers||Applicants receive decision (six weeks after applying)|
|July 31, 2016||September 2016|
|October 31, 2016||December 2016|
|February 28, 2017||April 2017|
LAO’s practice directions clarify practices and establish expectations for certain aspects of LAO-funded refugee and immigration services.
Basis of Claim
LAO’s Basis of Claim (BOC) application process for refugees includes a country list and “streams” to accommodate current refugee claim timelines and expedite decision-making on applications for legal aid services.
Refugee Protection Division hearings
In a Refugee Protection Division (RPD) hearing/interview, LAO subject matter experts will assess merit for hearing coverage, whether or not the BOC authorization should be amended to add coverage for services leading up to the RPD hearing, and whether the lawyer’s account is eligible for up to more hours for preparation for each subsequent sitting at the RPD and/or preparation of written submissions. Learn more.
Expedites for Syrian refugee claimants
Effective immediately, Syrian claimants who apply for Refugee Protection Division (RPD) coverage will be issued a 10-hour expedite legal aid certificate. Learn more.
Concurrent refugee/immigration service coverage
LAO will fund, where there is merit, multiple refugee and/or immigration services at the same time, based on the recommendation of LAO staff.
Refugee Appeal Division and Federal Court judicial reviews
Only members of LAO’s refugee and immigration appellate panel can acknowledge Refugee Appeal Division and judicial review certificates and represent LAO clients at the Refugee Appeal Division and Federal Court.
- Learn about coverage for RAD appeals.
- Learn about judicial review merit assessment opinion certificates.
Certificate eligibility for H & C applications, stay motions or deferrals
LAO consults regularly with its key stakeholders, including:
- Bimonthly meetings with the Refugee Lawyers Association
- Bi-annual meetings with LAO Board’s Immigration and Refugee Law Advisory Committee.
- Quarterly meetings with the LAO/Immigration and Refugee Board/Department of Justice /Canada Border Services Agency/Citizenship and Immigration Canada committee.
We also consult directly with the refugee bar. Go to our consultation page.
Resources for refugee panel lawyers
Get information on:
- Interpreter services
- Refugee lawyer practice manual
- training modules and materials, accessible to LAO panel members through LAO LAW. Please log in, go to the menu, and choose “Learning Opportunities.”
Help for clients
A refugee claimant or immigrant legal aid applicant without a lawyer can choose one of three service providers, based on his/her needs and location:
- A private bar lawyer (clients can use LAO’s interactive Find-a-lawyer tool). As of May 2016, LAO had approved 291 lawyers as members of the refugee panel.
- a LAO staff office
- a legal aid clinic.
Clients can contact the client service centre at Legal Aid Ontario’s toll-free number at 1-800-668-8258 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. or visit our website for more information on refugee and immigration law and services for refugee claimants.
If you have any questions or require further information, go to our Questions and Answers page for refugee and immigration lawyers or contact:
Jawad A. Kassab - LLB, MDiv, MBA
Executive Lead, Refugee and Immigration Services GTA
Legal Aid Ontario
Telephone: (416) 979-1446 x4705
Fax: (416) 979-2948