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:

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

LAO is currently only accepting applications for the General Refugee Panel. This is because of the interim measures that suspend appellate refugee legal aid certificates.

Interested refugee lawyers should download the refugee and immigration standards form and apply.

Lawyers who have been called to the bar in the last 2 years and who apply to the general refugee panel should enclose the following with their completed application:

  • a statement giving details of your background in refugee law, including:
    • your experience providing refugee and/or immigration legal services
    • mentoring received or shadowing undertaken
    • courses or training taken
    • volunteering or community experience
    • any other relevant experience
  • copy of your résumé or CV
  • any other information which will assist LAO to understand your suitability for the refugee panel
  • general LAO Lawyer Empanelment form
  • Direct Deposit Authorization for Business Accounts form

Applications should be sent by email to You will receive a response within 3 business days.