News Releases and Media Advisories

Chief Adjudicator sets standards for lawyers under IAP

August 30, 2012

Regina, August 30, 2012 -- The Chief Adjudicator of the Indian Residential Schools Independent Assessment Process (IAP) today released standards for lawyers who practice in the IAP. The document, which is available on the Indian Residential Schools Adjudication Secretariat’s website, provides guidance to claimants on what they can expect from their lawyer and sets out the appropriate norms of practice for lawyers in the IAP.

“Indian Residential School survivors depend upon seasoned, competent lawyers to successfully pursue their compensation claims and assist with their healing journey,” said Chief Adjudicator Daniel Ish. “In most cases, these Expectations will reflect the existing practice of lawyers involved in the Independent Assessment Process,” he said.

The document sets clear standards for legal practitioners in a wide number of areas related to the IAP:

  • Lawyers must ensure they are competent to act under the IAP, and restrict their IAP practice to the number of cases they can handle at one time;
  • Lawyers must ensure that their clients understand the IAP process and provide them with realistic expectations on the length of time it may take to resolve their claim,
  • Lawyers must properly prepare claimants for their hearing, and
  • Counsel should facilitate their clients’ healing process by making sure they are aware of appropriate support resources in the community, including counseling and treatment services.

The document also spells out clear expectations related to legal fees, financial arrangements and the right of claimants to change lawyers if they are not happy with the service they receive. “As Chief Adjudicator, I have a responsibility to preserve the integrity of the Independent Assessment Process and to uphold the letter and the spirit of the Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement,” said Ish. “I take this responsibility seriously and this document provides useful guidance to help claimants and lawyers engaged in the Independent Assessment Process,” he said.

In addition, lawyers under the IAP must comply with rules and guidelines issued by the Chief Adjudicator, provincial Law Societies and the Canadian Bar Association’s guidelines for lawyers working on Indian Residential Schools claims.

The application deadline for the IAP is September 19, 2012. Hearings will continue for several more years.

Related document: Expectations of Legal Practice in the IAP

Michael Tansey
Media Relations
Indian Residential Schools Adjudication Secretariat
(819) 934-1444