Provincial processes and connecting to a legal representative
Get legal aid if it is available in your province, and if you qualify. If possible, try to connect with a lawyer before you apply for legal aid.
Be honest and forthcoming with your legal representative. It may be difficult for them to help you if you hide information.
Be prepared before you meet your legal representative. You may want to send questions by email before your meeting, or write them down before the meeting. This will make the best use of your time with your legal representative.
This is your refugee claim
Remember this is your claim for refugee protection. Even if you have a legal representative, you should be personally active in preparing documents, gathering evidence and witnesses, and preparing to testify. It is your responsibility to be aware of your important dates and deadlines. If you miss a deadline, your claim may be declared abandoned.
Although parts of the refugee claim process are out of your control, it is important to take control of what you can. To help with this, make sure that you have enough information to understand and navigate the process. This will help you feel more prepared and feel comfortable with decisions that are being made.
Communication with your legal representative
Communicate with your legal representative on how and when you stay in contact. This will ensure you both share the same expectations. Be respectful of the legal representative’s time. You are going through these procedures together.
Keep in touch with your legal representative during the process, but ensure that you have a specific reason for contacting them. Legal representatives may have different demeanors. Understand the character of your legal representative so that you have a smooth journey together and get the help you need.
Understand the legal representative’s role and limitation
Understand clearly the role of your legal representative and their limitations. Do not expect your legal representative to tell you whether you will succeed or not. They can help you prepare. However, the Member of the IRB-RPD makes the decision whether to accept or reject your claim.
Changing legal representation
Remember you have the right to change/withdraw your legal representative if you find them unhelpful. This can be a difficult process.