Instructor(s): Lisa Cirillo

Schedule: Weekly seminar on Mondays (4 7 pm) plus a mandatory Joint Clinic Professionalism Training on Friday, September 21, 2018. Attendance at this session is mandatory to be eligible to participate in the clinic.

Enrollment Notes: This course does not require application.
Enrollment in all the clinics for credit is limited to upper year students. Exchange Students are not eligible to participate in clinics.

Enrolling in a DLS clinic is a serious commitment. Once enrolment is confirmed, students will require permission from the Faculty to withdraw.

Course Description:
This part-time, full-year clinical education program offers students the opportunity to explore legal principles and social policy issues in an empirical, public interest context. The program challenges students to examine issues with respect to the many intersections of law and social inequality in a critical way, while at the same time allowing them to develop the professional and ethical literacy which is essential to the practice of law. Through their clinical work, individualized tutorials, substantive training sessions and course seminars, students are provided with the chance to test relationships between legal rules and the realities of the justice process, to investigate the complex legal problems and policy issues which affect low income communities, and to develop a conceptual and empirical understanding of public interest lawyering.

The Refugee and Immigration Law Clinic represents individuals and families on a wide range of legal matters affecting migrants. The Clinic also maintains a test case litigation practice, advocating for the constitutional and procedural rights of migrants within administrative law. Students work on applications to prevent deportation, refugee protection claims, Permanent Residence applications based on Humanitarian and Compassionate grounds, and Pre-Removal Risk Assessments, as well as judicial reviews of these decisions at the Federal Court. Students also represent clients who have been found, or are at risk of being found, inadmissible to Canada for public safety and national security reasons. Students frequently represent vulnerable clients including children and youth, and women who have experienced abuse.

Students are involved at all stages of a clients legal matter from client counselling, case theory formulation, drafting client and expert affidavits, developing an evidentiary record, conducting legal research, preparing written submissions, hearing preparation and litigation. Students are able to work on complex and large litigation files that often span many years. Students also conduct media and political outreach where necessary, and work alongside community organizations committed to family reunification and a just and humane path to citizenship for migrant workers.

Suggested Pre or Co-Requisites: Administrative Law, Refugee Law and Immigration Law.

The program is conducted at Downtown Legal Services, a community legal clinic operated by the Faculty of Law which provides services to low income people in a number of areas of law. In addition to the casework described above, students will participate in weekly education sessions throughout the term. These sessions will include substantive legal training, case rounds and multi-disciplinary seminars. Credit students are also required to participate in the clinics community outreach program and to write a series of short reflective papers.

Attendance at all seminars and training sessions is mandatory. Students are expected to read the materials and participate in discussions. While we strive to make the overall workload of the clinic comparable to a course of similar weight, the clinic involves real case work, with deadlines that are not always within our control. It also involves serious commitments to clients who are dealing with significant legal issues. In this sense, the clinic requires a commitment beyond what is normally expected in an academic seminar. The credit weighting of this course is designed to reflect this additional commitment.

This course is graded on an HH/H/P/LP/F basis. Students will be required to produce regular written work related to their cases, as well as a series of short (4-6 pages) reflective journals, due at fixed intervals during the year. Students will be evaluated on the basis of their clinical (casework and outreach activities) work (60%), their reflective papers (20%) and their attendance and participation in seminars (20%).
Credit note
8 credits (4 credits allocated in each term).

At a Glance

Both Terms


10 JD


First Term Schedule:
M: 4:10 - 7:00
Second Term Schedule: (M: 4:10 - 7:00
655 Spadina Avenue