Canadian Lawyer

October 2020

The most widely read magazine for Canadian lawyers

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46 www.canadianlawyermag.com FEATURE Waldman & Associates Toronto waldmanlaw.ca When your specialty in immigration law is complex litigation — dealing with matters before the Federal Court and the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada — the COVID-19 pandemic that has locked down most government facilities is bound to be affected, says Lorne Waldman, founder of Waldman & Associates. "It's been a challenge for us during the pandemic," he says, because litigation "is what we do." When the courts closed and the tribunals stopped sitting due to the pandemic, Waldman says, "it had a pretty dramatic impact on our business." However, Waldman, who founded the firm in 1979 and was invested into the Order of Canada in 2018 for his work on immigra- tion and refugee law, says he and his team took advantage of the time to reorganize the office and "catch up on all the work we were behind on." Now, things are picking up again, as courtrooms start to open and lawyers are being given the choice of going to the hearing in person or doing it by video call. So far, Waldman says, he prefers to partic- ipate in hearings via Zoom, depending on what type of hearing it is. For certain types of procedures, having that personal interac- tion is important, especially if it is a matter of having witnesses give their testimony. However, for proceedings such as a judicial review, where legal arguments are being made, the video calls in which Waldman has participated so far "have worked out fine." Waldman says his practice has been "evolving" since he started as a sole prac- titioner. It had grown to a team of about 15 lawyers, but, even before the pandemic, Waldman says, he was in the process of down- sizing it, although he admits that COVID-19 "probably hastened things a bit." A year ago, it had a team of eight; now, it is down to five. But big or small, Waldman and his team have had a big impact on Canadian immi- gration law. The firm has been involved in many cases defending human rights in immi- gration, including matters such as advo- cating against cuts to refugee health care (Canadian Doctors for Refugee Care et al. v. Attorney General of Canada), fighting the niqab ban in citizenship ceremonies (Ishaq v. Canada) and challenging citizenship revoca- tion procedures (Hassouna v. Canada). Recently, the firm was involved in a Federal Court challenge to the jurisprudential guides issued by the IRB, representing the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers. The court found that some of the guides were illegal because they "unduly fettered" the discretion of members to render decisions. It also represented the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in a case regarding the intersection of family law and refugee law. It involved applications for the return of children to a foreign jurisdiction when they have made refugee claims. The Federal Court set aside the decision to return the children and held that the family court should not make an order to return them before a decision is handed down on their refugee claims. Waldman doesn't advertise the firm's services, as most of his business comes through word of mouth or people learning about him from his lengthy career as an TOP 10 IMMIGRATION BOUTIQUES

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