Certificate coverage for merit assessments now available to refugee appellate panel lawyers
Wednesday, November 18, 2015
Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) is improving access to justice for refugee clients by changing the merit assessment processes for refugee appeals and judicial reviews. Refugee appellate panel lawyers will now receive a four-hour opinion certificate for every merit assessment they complete for refugee appeals and judicial reviews.
To fund Refugee Appeal Division (RAD) and judicial review (JR) cases, LAO requires a merit assessment.
Previously, LAO would agree to pay for a merit assessment only if the appropriate LAO committee concurred with the findings of that assessment. This meant that some private bar lawyers were reluctant to take on RAD and JRs because of the uncertainty regarding payment of time invested in preparing a merit assessment. This revised process improves access to justice for one of LAO’s most vulnerable client groups by ensuring high quality lawyers will provide merit assessment services.