Information for lawyers

For refugee and immigration lawyers

This page includes information and links for refugee lawyers.

Table of contents

  1. Refugee and immigration e-bulletin
  2. LAO’s refugee panel standards
  3. Practice directions
  4. Basis of claim
  5. Refugee Protection Division hearings
  6. Refugee Protection Divison expedites
  7. Concurrent refugee/immigration service coverage
  8. Refugee Appeal Division and Federal Court judicial reviews
  9. Certificate eligibility for H & C applications, stay motions or deferrals
  10. Ongoing consultations
  11. Resources for refugee panel lawyers
  12. Help for clients
  13. Questions

Refugee and immigration e-bulletin

Get LAO’s latest updates for refugee and immigration lawyers.

LAO’s refugee panel standards

All lawyers who represent legal aid clients must belong to the panel(s) for the type(s) of law they practice. Panel standards help ensure that legal aid clients receive high-quality services.

The standards for LAO’s refugee panel provide the experience and professional development requirements that refugee lawyers must meet. They include:

  • General standards for lawyers conducting first-instance Refugee Protection Division (RDP) and immigration work.

  • Appellate standards for lawyers who litigate at the Refugee Appeal Division and Federal Court.

Learn more about the refugee panel.

Go to a list of approved refugee and immigration panel members: General Panel or Appellate Panel.

Practice directions

LAO’s practice directions clarify practices and establish expectations for certain aspects of LAO-funded refugee and immigration services.

Basis of Claim

LAO subject matter experts will assess merit for hearing coverage by reviewing your Basis of Claim (BOC).

Refugee Protection Division hearings

In a Refugee Protection Division (RPD) hearing/interview, LAO subject matter experts will assess merit for hearing coverage, whether or not the BOC authorization should be amended to add coverage for services leading up to the RPD hearing, and whether the lawyer’s account is eligible for up to more hours for preparation for each subsequent sitting at the RPD and/or preparation of written submissions. Learn more.

Refugee Protection Division expedites

Effective immediately, claimants who apply for Refugee Protection Division (RPD) coverage will be issued a 10-hour expedite legal aid certificate. Learn more.

Concurrent refugee/immigration service coverage

LAO will fund, where there is merit, multiple refugee and/or immigration services at the same time, based on the recommendation of LAO staff.

Refugee Appeal Division and Federal Court judicial reviews

Only members of LAO’s refugee and immigration appellate panel can acknowledge Refugee Appeal Division and judicial review certificates and represent LAO clients at the Refugee Appeal Division and Federal Court.

Certificate eligibility for H & C applications, stay motions or deferrals

Clients can make a Humanitarian and Compassionate (H&C) application, stay motion or a request to defer removal from Canada.

Ongoing consultations

LAO consults regularly with its key stakeholders, including:

  • Bimonthly meetings with the Refugee Lawyers Association
  • Bi-annual meetings with LAO Board’s Immigration and Refugee Law Advisory Committee.
  • Quarterly meetings with the LAO/Immigration and Refugee Board/Department of Justice /Canada Border Services Agency/Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada committee.

We also consult directly with the refugee bar. Go to our consultation page.

Resources for refugee panel lawyers

Get information on:

Go to other resources.

Help for clients

A refugee claimant or immigrant legal aid applicant without a lawyer can choose one of three service providers, based on his/her needs and location:

Clients can contact the client service centre at Legal Aid Ontario’s toll-free number at 1-800-668-8258 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. or visit our website for more information on refugee and immigration law and services for refugee claimants.


If you have any questions or require further information, go to our Questions and Answers page for refugee and immigration lawyers or contact:

Vicki Moretti
Vice President, G T A Region
Legal Aid Ontario
Telephone: 416-204-7108
Fax: (416) 979-2948