Proposed refugee and immigration appellate standards: Appendix

Appendix A: Quality service expectations

Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) expects lawyers to act professionally, competently, and effectively, when representing legally aided clients.

The Law Society of Upper Canada's Rules of Professional Conduct (RPC) as they relate to lawyers reflect LAO's expectations regarding lawyers' duties to both the courts and to clients.

In particular:

  • Rule 2 “Relationship to Clients”

    • Competence
    • Quality of Service
    • Confidentiality
    • Avoidance of Conflicts of Interest,
    • Withdrawal from Representation; and

  • Rule 4 “Relationship to the Administration of Justice”

    The duty to act competently requires ongoing education and reflection upon one’s work.

    1. LAO expects every member of the Refugee & Immigration: Appellate Panel to have knowledge of and, acting in the client’s best interests, competently apply:

      • The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) and related legislation, regulations and rules of the tribunal
      • The Federal Court Act
      • The Federal Court Rules
      • The Federal Court Immigration and Refugee Protection Rules
      • The Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and the Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
      • The Rules of Professional Conduct (Law Society of Upper Canada)
      • Significant relevant jurisprudence
      • UNHCR Handbook on Procedures and Criteria for Determining Refugee Status
      • Canada Evidence Act
      • Interpretation Act

      And to provide quality representation considering:

      • A reasonable client of modest means
      • Specific issues relating to vulnerable clients including survivors of torture
      • Privilege
      • Confidentiality
      • Respect for the clients instructions
      • Effective communication with clients using plain language
      • Cultural and linguistic barriers
      • Essential advocacy and tribunal skills including but not limited to: review of the record, early identification of the issues, thorough legal research, effective litigation strategies, persuasive written and oral communication, proper preparation, effective advocacy within the bounds of professional obligations.
    2. LAO expects every member of the Refugee and Immigration: Appellate Panel to represent his/her clients effectively and ethically considering the following:

      • Knowing each of the elements of the claims
      • Good familiarity with all of the evidence
      • Knowledge of hearing procedures
      • Careful and timely review of the record
      • Legal research
      • Knowledge of relevant legal principles and current jurisprudence
      • Rules of evidence
      • Effective and timely research on country conditions
    3. Know your limits

      • Accept only those cases for which you have the knowledge and experience to offer quality representation [Rule 2.01 RPC]
      • Refer matters you are not competent to handle, or engage a mentor
    4. Align with LAO’s ‘Best Practices Guide’ to ensure that clients are provided with high quality legal services.

Appendix B: Best practices guide

To be developed