Who we are

The Immigration and Refugee Legal Clinic provides free legal advice and representation, with interpretation services, for low-income people across BC. The clinic acts as a safety net for individuals and families, whose cases are not covered or easy to serve in the traditional legal aid system. 

Alongside our casework, we advocate for change on issues that repeatedly come up for our clients by engaging in systemic litigation and law reform efforts. We provide legal education to community groups and service providers across BC. Clinic staff also serve as mentors to law students and junior lawyers interested in the refugee and immigration law field.   

Our guiding values

We aim to reach those who often fall through the cracks of our legal system and provide them with excellent, respectful, and caring legal advice and representation.

Legal excellence

We strive to maintain a high standard of legal excellence in all the work we do for our clients, whether we are helping them to understand their legal options, providing written submissions to a decision-maker, or making oral arguments before a court.

Accessibility

We work to reduce barriers to accessing legal services, including linguistic, cultural, functional and physical barriers. This commitment requires us to be flexible, responsive and innovative in how we deliver and modify our services.

Respect and care

Being an excellent lawyer must include treating your clients with dignity, respect, and sensitivity.

A new legal clinic for BC

The provincial government’s External Review of Legal Aid Services in BC, Roads to Revival, concluded in early 2019 that a new immigration and refugee legal clinic needed to be created to complement the legal aid system and to “take on urgent and complex cases.” The Immigration and Refugee Legal Clinic was created in response to this review. It is the only legal clinic dedicated to immigration and refugee issues in western Canada.

The clinic is deeply committed to creating a service that is responsive and effective. Staff at the legal clinic have worked for many years in the immigration and refugee law area.

Meet our team

The legal clinic is made up of two lawyers and a legal assistant. We also have the assistance of wonderful volunteers and students.

Juliana Dalley (she, her)

Clinic Lead and Staff Lawyer

Juliana Dalley (she, her)

Clinic Lead and Staff Lawyer

Juliana is a passionate advocate for newcomers to Canada. Prior to joining the IRLC, Juliana worked as an immigration and refugee lawyer in private practice and at a legal clinic where she helped migrant workers with immigration and employment issues. She has appeared before all levels of the Immigration and Refugee Board as well as the Federal Court and has testified before House of Commons standing committees. Juliana clerked for Madam Justice Hansen at the Federal Court of Canada after receiving her law degree in 2013.

Tess Acton (she, her)

Staff Lawyer

Tess Acton (she, her)

Staff Lawyer

Tess brings care and compassion to her work with newcomers in Canada. Prior to joining the IRLC, she worked as a refugee and immigration lawyer in private practice. Tess has advocated for clients at all levels of the Immigration and Refugee Board and the Federal Court and taught Refugee Law at the Faculty of Law at the University of Victoria in 2019. Before becoming a lawyer, Tess worked with children and youth at a literacy organization. She continues to support the organization as a director. Tess loves baking and practising her French over freshly baked pastries.

Leila Nasr (she/her)

Summer Law Student

Leila Nasr (she/her)

Summer Law Student

Leila is a second-year law student at UBC and a recent immigrant to Canada. Prior to law school, she worked with refugees and communities at risk of forced displacement in Palestine and, later, with social justice and minority rights organisations here in Canada.

Karen Jantzen (she, her)

Articling Student

Karen Jantzen (she, her)

Articling Student

Karen is in her last year as a law student at UBC. She is interested in immigration and refugee law and hopes to pursue a career in that field. She has previous work and volunteer experience with different organizations that support refugees, immigrants, and migrant workers in Canada.

Omar Chu (he, him)

Legal Assistant

Omar Chu (he, him)

Legal Assistant

Through his involvement with grassroots migrant justice movements, Omar Chu has been assisting with immigration and refugee legal issues for over five years.  He has a BA in Peace Studies from the University of Bradford, and has worked fighting for rights and better policy with the BC Poverty Reduction Coalition and the BC Health Coalition. He is fluent in English and French and can tell when his friends are making fun of him in Spanish.

Jinhee Lee (she, her)

Legal Assistant (on leave)

Jinhee Lee (she, her)

Legal Assistant (on leave)

Jinhee obtained her Bachelor of Laws degree from Chung-Ang University in Seoul, South Korea, and immigrated to Canada in 2015. After arriving in Canada, Jinhee worked at a legal clinic in Edmonton, Alberta, where she found her passion providing legal support to people who are in challenging circumstances. She continued working at an immigration law firm after relocating to Vancouver where she gained extensive knowledge of immigration & refugee law. She is fluent in Korean, and in her spare time, she enjoys knitting.

Fran Gallo (she, her)

Volunteer

Fran Gallo (she, her)

Volunteer

Fran has been working or volunteering to support refugee claimants since arriving in Canada in 2001.  She received a B.A. in International Relations from Pitzer College and a M.A. in Latin American Studies from Georgetown University.  Fran enjoys improving her Spanish language skills and studying beginner level French.