Refugee and immigration (general) quality service expectations
Rosters members are required to comply with the following Refugee and Immigration (General) Quality Service Expectations.
LAO expects every member of the Refugee and Immigration (General) 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 (General) Best Practices Guide.
Best Practices – All matters
i. First interview
- A roster member or person acting under her or his direct supervision should interview the client at the first reasonable opportunity.
- At this first interview and all subsequent meetings, the roster member and anyone acting under their supervision must 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 roster member must 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. LAO will pay for the interpreter (up to 10 hours, or more if authorization is requested and approved) as well as for required medical or psychological reports (up to a maximum). A roster member may not request a client pay the interpreter.
- The roster member should ensure that the client understands generally the test to be met to be accepted as a Convention refugee or person in need of protection in refugee and Pre-Removal Risk Assessment (PRRA) cases, or on humanitarian and compassionate grounds in H&C cases, as well as the procedures, role and powers of the relevant tribunal or decision maker.
- A roster member must at all times remain alert to potential and actual conflicts of interest that would result in an inability to represent the client, while making best efforts to protect the client’s interests.
- As soon as possible after the first meeting, when necessary and appropriate, and taking into account disclosure deadlines, a roster member should seek relevant disclosure from the IRB, IRCC, and/or CBSA, including but not limited to:
- all oral and written statements by the client, and the details of the circumstances under which the statements were made;
- all documents, images and recordings pertaining to the claim;
- all reports of physical or mental harm.
ii. Preparation and finalization of the forms (BOC, PRRA, H&C)
- A roster member or person acting under their supervision should be aware of general country conditions in the country of origin of the client and, where appropriate, conduct basic country condition research before finalizing the BOC, PRRA or H&C forms, as applicable.
- A roster member must personally interview a client about the contents of the forms before having a client sign them.
- A roster member must ensure that a client is satisfied that the forms are complete, correct in every detail, and clearly understood by the client before requesting they sign them.
- A roster member must give their client a complete copy of the signed forms as submitted to the tribunal or decision maker.
- A roster member must discuss with the client the evidentiary requirements for the case, and provide appropriate guidance regarding the collection of such evidence, as well as timelines.
iii. Developing and supporting the case
- Prior to a hearing or the filing of submissions, a roster member should develop a sensible and coherent theory of the case.
- A lawyer should, where appropriate, obtain objective evidence to support the case, including relevant country of origin information, and advise the client on gathering relevant personal documents.
- Documents which are not in English or French must be translated before they can be sent to the tribunal. LAO will pay for a limited amount of translation, including identity or personal documents. If a client has more documents that require translation, the roster member should contact LAO for authorization prior to incurring the cost.
- In those matters where there is no hearing (e.g. H&C applications, danger opinions, most PRRA applications), a lawyer should develop clear and coherent written submissions in support of the application, addressing the relevant legal, factual and evidentiary issues raised by the application. An affidavit from the client should be prepared and filed with the application unless there are special circumstances such that an affidavit is not required.
- Evidence and written submissions should be disclosed in a timely manner.
- A roster member should keep the client apprised of any significant developments in the case.
- A lawyer should consider disclosing additional updated submissions and evidence in appropriate circumstances.
Guide – RPD matters
- Prior to the hearing
- A roster member must review any disclosure from the IRB, CBSA or IRCC prior to the hearing, and discuss and make best efforts to resolve with the client any contradictions, omissions or other issues arising.
- A roster member must be or become familiar with the documentation contained in the National Documentation Package(s) and its relevance to the client’s case, and should conduct independent country condition research to ensure that reasonably available, relevant and reliable objective evidence supporting the claim is placed before the Board before the deadline for disclosure.
- A roster member must meet with the client prior to the hearing in order to fully prepare the client for giving evidence.
- A roster member must prepare for the hearing, including by developing a coherent and sensible theory of the case, preparing to make, or respond to, any reasonable preliminary motions or objections, and must prepare to examine the claimant/witnesses and make any oral submissions that will be required.
ii. At the hearing
- A roster member must represent the client at the hearing. If a retained roster member is relying on another person to represent the client at the hearing, they must obtain the client’s consent in advance, and the person providing the representation must be a roster member.
- At the hearing, the roster member is expected to represent the client’s interests fearlessly and competently, including by bringing relevant motions, raising objections where necessary or appropriate, fully questioning witnesses, and providing fulsome closing submissions addressing all the “live issues” at stake.
iii. After the hearing
- A roster member is expected to, where requested by the RPD and having not done so orally at the hearing, provide post-hearing submissions in writing.
- A roster member should remain generally aware of conditions in the country of origin of the client following the hearing and to provide post hearing evidence to the RPD where appropriate.
- A roster member should advise the client of the outcome of the hearing, explaining it where necessary, and should advise the client of the availability of further procedures including applications for permanent residence, appeals and judicial reviews.