Immigration Detention Symposium
Immigration Detention Symposium
On Friday March 15th 2019 the Asper Centre will convene a one-day Immigration Detention Symposium focused on advancing litigation and advocacy strategies to address the challenges within Canada’s immigration detention system. This Symposium will also highlight immigration practitioners' and civil society’s current advocacy efforts, recommendations and resources for achieving meaningful solutions to the challenges.
In March 2018, the Asper Centre convened a public interest litigation conference, which included a panel that focused on litigation strategies in immigration detention cases. The panelists discussed some of the serious challenges that, in order to effectively address, would require a continued strategic and coordinated advocacy response. In July 2018 the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) released an External Audit Detention Review report (External Audit), which confirmed that "...a Charter-compliant standard of robust and meaningful review is not being consistently met in detention review hearings, and that, in some cases, the Charter rights of detained persons were breached by continued ID-ordered detention.”
In response to the IRB’s External Audit, the Asper Centre co-convened a group of experts to draft a response with recommendations to the IRB’s External Audit report. This soon to be released External Audit Response report was principally drafted by Hanna Gros of UTLaw's International Human Rights Program, with Asper Centre Cinic students' research assistance, and in consultation with the immigration bar, academics, and civil society.
The main objective of this Symposium is to bring together legal practitioners and advocacy partners focused on improving the serious deficincies in the immigration detention system in Canada in order to highlight some of the responses and strategies currently being developed and implemented in this area. It is hoped that the Symposium will encourage continued strategic litigation collaboration and coordinated advocacy efforts amongst the immigration bar and beyond.
I. Immigration Detention External Audit Response Report: Recommendations and Next Steps
This panel will unpack the conclusions and recommendations of the Immigration Detention External Audit Response Report and will facilitate a discussion identifying the areas, arguments and cases for further litigation and advocacy. The panelists include the key authors of the report and members of the bar who made significant contributions to the report.
II. Habeas Corpus Best Practices
While the SCC’s decision in Chhina will provide clarification on the scope of the writ of habeas corpus, this panel will focus on practical strategies for filing habeas corpus claims for immigration detainees. Access and procedure tips, arguments for challenging the lawfulness and reasonableness of a continued deprivation of liberty, arguments in “danger to the public” cases, and how to utilize Section 11 of the Charter will be dicussed.
III. CARL Toolkit and a Compendium of Relevant Case-Law for Immigration Detention Practitioners
The Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers (CARL) has developed an Immigration Detention Toolkit, which it will be launching shortly. This toolkit will help familiarize counsel with the main findings of the IRB's External Audit and provide tips, steps and suggestions on how counsel can ensure the fairest process possible for our clients. The Toolkit advises how to, among other things:(a) to prepare for a detention review, (b) develop and present alternatives to detention, (c) present and test oral or other kinds of evidence, (d) respond to multiple detention reviews; (e) follow up post-hearing. As well, the Toolkit provides tips on how to work with detainees with mental health issues, addictions and other vulnerabilities.
The IRB’s External Audit confirmed that in many of the Immigration Division’s hearings and decisions, “…there were notable discrepancies between the expectations articulated by the courts and the practice of the Immigration Division.” Three Asper Centre Clinic students who provided research for the drafting of the External Audit Response Report have created a Compendium/Summary of the relevant case law in which the courts articulate what a legally sound and fair immigration hearing should look like. This Compendium of cases, which will serve to complement the CARL toolkit, will also be presented at this panel.
Symposium SCHEDULE with complete list of panel members to be added shortly.