For more legal information, visit the CLEO website and Your Legal Rights

If you have special needs

Going through the refugee hearing process will be stressful and can be difficult for most claimants. But some claimants have greater difficulty. If you think you are a ‘vulnerable person’, you can ask the Refugee Protection Division for special consideration in the hearing process. For example, you could ask for a female interpreter or Board member if you have experienced gender-based persecution, or request that a support person be allowed at your hearing.

To be identified as a vulnerable person, you should apply in writing as soon as the need is identified. You may need to provide a report from a doctor, psychiatrist, or psychologist to support your application. The rules say you should apply at least 10 days before your hearing date if you know by then that you will need special consideration.

Some claimants have a “designated representative” to help them understand the refugee claim process and make decisions. The Board appoints a designated representative if you are:

Family members often act as designated representatives. It is a good idea to talk to your lawyer about whether this is appropriate in your case. Professionals, such as social workers, can also be appointed.

Category: Before your hearing

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