Information for Refugee Lawyers

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The University of Ottawa Refugee Assistance Project (UORAP) aims to facilitate evidence gathering by unrepresented refugee claimants and those who assist them in preparing for their hearing. You and your clients can benefit from the Hearing Preparation Form (HPF) and the assistance of community workers trained to use it. The HPF is a customizable checklist to guide unrepresented claimants and those assisting them; it provides a framework to outline the elements of the claim and the evidence needed.

To download the UORAP Information Sheet for Refugee Lawyers, click here


Why use the HPF?

The HPF can help you give an unrepresented claimant a fair chance to prove his or her claim. It is designed to provide you with a simple and effective claim analysis in cases where your retainer or certificate only covers the Basis of Claim (BOC) form and does not extend to the hearing. This claim analysis will help a community worker assist the unrepresented claimant to gather evidence.
In addition to assisting unrepresented claimants, the HPF may also be a useful tool for your own claim preparation, especially if you wish to ask your client or a community worker to assist in gathering the evidence. It provides a succinct and efficient aide memoir for acquiring the relevant evidence for the claim.


How to fill in the HPF

You can use the HPF to quickly summarize the legal elements of the claim and indicate the evidence needed to prove it. To fill in the HPF:
  • Part A: Summary of the Claim – indicate the pertinent issues of the claim using the definitions of a refugee (IRPA s.96), a person in need of protection (IRPA s.97), and exclusion (IRPA s.98).
  • Part B: Documents as Evidence – using the summary of the claim, indicate the key documents that your client needs to prove his or her claim.
  • Part C: Witnesses as Evidence – indicate any witnesses that should testify, and the purpose oftheir testimony.

UORAP has trained community workers across the country in using completed HPFs to assist unrepresented claimants to gather evidence. These community workers have also been provided with the Hearing Preparation Kit, which gives a step by step explanation of the HPF and practical information on hearing preparation. 


Benefits of the HPF

Filling in the HPF only takes 10-15 minutes if it is completed immediately after filling in the BOC.
Practicing refugee lawyers have described the HPF as an excellent tool for organizing your case as you prepare for your client’s refugee hearing. Lawyers working on tight timelines can benefit from the HPF as a way to summarize the key issues in the claim, organize next steps, and ensure efficiency and client cooperation in hearing preparation under tight timelines. It requires careful consideration of what evidenceis needed, which is then listed on the HPF for easy reference by you, a law clerk or a community worker as the evidence is accumulated.



UORAP is funded by the Law Foundation of Ontario’s Access to Justice Fund and generously supported by our organizational partners. Our goal is to mitigate specific access to justice concerns arising from the recent changes to Canada’s refugee system. UORAP is led by University of Ottawa Common Law Professors Jennifer Bond, Adam Dodek, Peter Showler and David Wiseman.
UORAP’s Written Resources UORAP’s written resources can help community workers to assist unrepresented refugee claimants to obtain and deliver evidence for their refugee hearing, after the BOC has been completed. UORAP has three written resources:
  1. The HPF – A customizable checklist to guide claimants and those assisting them to gather evidence for the refugee hearing. The HPF provides a framework to outline the elements of the claim and the evidence needed. Ideally, the HPF will be filled out by the lawyer assisting the claimant with the BOC.
  2. The Hearing Preparation Kit – A combination of four guides that explain how to use the HPF and contain other practical guidance on gathering, preparing, and submitting evidence, as well as summary information about the hearing itself. 
  3. The To Do List – a take-away template to help claimants to gather their evidence in an organized fashion.


UORAP’s Training

What training have community workers received, and how can they help claimants? UORAP has developed a full-day training curriculum to prepare community workers to use our written materials to assist claimants. Community workers in Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver are trained to:
  • Understand the HPF, including the Summary of the Claim and its relationship with the evidentiary needs identified in the HPF;
  • Use the HPF to guide evidence-gathering and fill in a To Do List for the claimant; and
  • Use the Hearing Preparation Kit to find answers to refugee claimants’ questions about the submission of evidence and the hearing.

If you have any questions or would like more information about UORAP, please contact UORAP Director Emily Bates at