Supplementary Information: Practice Notice - Allegations Against Former Counsel

The reason this Practice Notice was created

The Immigration Refugee Board of Canada (IRB) has created this practice notice to ensure fairness both to the person who is the subject of proceedings and to the former counsel.  The Federal Court has noted that allegations against former counsel are easily made, but may have a serious impact on the professional reputation of counsel. An allegation is a statement or declaration that has not been proven therefore the proof needed to support such a complaint should fit the serious nature of the consequences for all concerned. Note 1

Specific steps must be followed in this process. The Allegations Against Former Counsel Practice Notice outlines the steps a person and their former counsel must follow in situations when the allegation is made while the person's case is still ongoing or after a case has been completed.

A complaint can also be made to a Law Society or the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC), who may investigate the complaint and determine whether the former counsel has breached any Rules of Professional Conduct.


Inadequate representation can include professional incompetence (for example, the person's former counsel has not applied the relevant knowledge and skills); negligence (for example, their former counsel failed to act due to carelessness); and other improper conduct (for example, dishonesty).

A solicitor-client privilege means that when you speak to a lawyer (or counsel) privately, whatever you discuss cannot be shared with anyone else, and no one can make your lawyer share it without your permission.

In practice, the expression "release of privilege" means that a person must agree in writing to allow their former counsel to share the discussions they had with them for the purpose of taking advice or getting help for their case. Unless a person releases privilege, these discussions remain private between the person and their former counsel.


Note 1

Nunez v. Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration), 2000 CanLII 15156 (FC) at par. 19. Online:

Return to note 1 referrer