Refugee and immigration (appellate) quality service expectations

Roster members are required to comply with the following Refugee and Immigration (Appellate) Quality Service Expectations.

LAO expects member of the Refugee and Immigration (Appellate) Roster to represent his/her clients effectively and ethically considering the following:

  • Knowing each of the elements of the case
  • Good familiarity with all of the evidence
  • Knowledge of hearing procedures
  • Effective interviewing skills
  • Careful and timely review of disclosure
  • Research on current country conditions
  • Knowledge of current jurisprudence relating to the country and issues raised by the case

Roster members are required to comply with the following Refugee and Immigration (Appellate) Best Practices Guide.

Best Practices

  • The lawyer (or person acting under her or his direct supervision) should in most cases meet with the client at the first opportunity to explain the legal process, obtain the record below and any available and permissible new evidence, and explore possible issues for argument.
  • At this first meeting and all subsequent meetings, the lawyer and anyone acting under their supervision should be alert to potential linguistic, cultural or mental health issues that could affect the giving of instructions and/or the preparation or substance of the case. The lawyer should make reasonable accommodations or take reasonable steps, such as providing an interpreter, or providing appropriate referrals to medical or mental health practitioners and/or other relevant community resources. In some cases LAO may authorize translations, interpretation, medical or psychological reports.
  • The lawyer should ensure that the client understands generally the procedures, role and powers of the relevant tribunal or court, and should be provided with a realistic assessment of likelihood of success and possible legal alternatives and/or recourses.
  • The lawyer must at all times remain alert to potential and actual conflicts of interest that would result in an inability to represent the client.
  • As soon as possible after the first meeting, when necessary and appropriate, the lawyer should seek relevant disclosure from any previous counsel and from the first instance tribunal, and may also, in appropriate circumstances, seek disclosure under the Privacy Act of the client’s file from the IRB, IRCC, CBSA, and/or CSIS.
  • The lawyer must make every effort to meet statutory and/or court-imposed deadlines. If a deadline is missed through no fault of the client, the lawyer must make best efforts to protect the client’s rights and must accept responsibility before the tribunal or court when appropriate.
  • Prior to finalizing a record, a lawyer should develop a sensible and coherent theory of the case, and should prepare clear and effective written submissions in support of the matter, addressing the relevant legal, factual and evidentiary issues raised by the application and relying on appropriate jurisprudence.
  • Written submissions and affidavits should be clearly and persuasively written and conform to the rules of the relevant tribunal or court. Appropriate case law, including leading authorities, should be cited to support legal arguments. References to the record, including to both documentation and oral testimony, should be made.
  • Evidence and written submissions should be filed in a timely manner.
  • In both written arguments and at any hearing, the lawyer is expected to represent the client’s interests fearlessly and competently, including by bringing relevant motions, raising objections where necessary or appropriate, and providing fulsome but appropriate submissions addressing all the “live issues” at stake.
  • As a general matter, lawyers should take advantage of statutory opportunities to file submissions in reply.
  • The lawyer or their staff should keep the client apprised of any significant developments in the case.
  • The lawyer should advise the client of the outcome of the case, explaining it where necessary, and should advise the client of the availability of further procedures.