This section of this clinic is for students who can attend in person. In order to safeguard the health and safety of students, there is a possibility that all sections of this class will convert to a remote format for all or part of the term. To enrol in this course all students must meet or exceed the tech requirements for enrolment in University of Toronto courses, which can be found here []

In-Person Participation Requirement:
Participation in a DLS clinical program involves a mix of activities including seminars, research & writing and client work. Some of this work can be done remotely. However, students in this course must be able to attend the clinic, as required, to meet with clients and perform other clinical work. While we anticipate that remote hearings will continue to be the norm for some time, students may also be required to represent clients in live proceedings as courts and tribunals are able to accommodate these.

DLS is committed to ensuring the safety of our staff, students and clients. We will continue to monitor both the provincial and federal health directives on all COVID-19 related matters to ensure we have best practices in place to protect our community. Should you have any questions or concerns about this in-person participation requirement, please contact us at

Schedule: Weekly seminar (Mondays 5:00-8:00 pm in the first term and Wednesdays 3:30 - 6:30 pm in the second term) plus a mandatory Joint Clinic Professionalism Training on Friday, September 25, 2020.

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 client’s 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 clinic’s community outreach program and to write a series of short reflective papers.

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.

Participation (via online tools whenever permitted) in all seminars and training sessions is mandatory. In addition to the weekly seminar, students are be required to be in regular contact with the clinic to monitor developments on their files and to commit to a 2-hour weekly “office hours” shift during which time they will be available to receive client calls (these calls can be received remotely). Students should expect that their clinic work will often require additional time over and above this block.

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).
Academic year
2020 - 2021

At a Glance

Both Terms



8 JD


M: 5:00 - 8:00 pm (Fall term)
W: 3:30 - 6:30 pm (Winter term)

655 Spadina Avenue