The new standards: what they are and what they offer

The new standards are:

  • A general standard for Refugee Protection Division and Immigration Appeal Division work as well as detention reviews and applications for humanitarian and compassionate consideration, pre-removal risk assessments, and danger opinions

  • An appellate standard for matters before the Refugee Appeal Division and the Courts.

Both new standards are designed to:

  • help clients continue to access high quality legal representation

  • establish universal standards for all legal aid funded service providers, including:

    • private lawyers
    • staff lawyers and paralegals and
    • clinic staff with a refugee services agreement
  • identify the appropriate levels of expertise and experience required for different kinds of cases.


Current standards Proposed revised standards
  • One-time application to be on the panel
  • membership is indefinite, so long as member makes annual statement of continuing compliance
  • Five-year term membership
  • Must apply to renew, and demonstrate continuing compliance with quality standards

Single panel standard for all levels and types of refugee/immigration work.

Two quality standards:

  • one for first-instance RPD/immigration work
  • a second, suitable for more experienced professionals, for appellate litigation.

Only for private bar lawyers acting on refugee/immigration certificates.

For everyone who provides legal aid refugee/immigration services, including lawyers on certificates, staff lawyers, paralegals, or professionals on a service agreement with a clinic.

Only broad quality service expectations.

Quality service expectations plus mandatory compliance with a detailed best practices guide.

  • Standards are general and unspecific.
  • Monitoring of compliance is difficult.
  • Standards are specific and detailed, including clear best practices obligations
  • Monitoring and assessment of compliance potentially less difficult