Sexuality and Gender on Trial: LGBTQ+ Refugee Claims

Refugee claims based on sexual orientation and gender identity/expression (“SOGIE”) make up about 10% of all claims before the Immigration and Refugee Board (“IRB”) and are among the most complex and difficult types of claims to prepare. This seminar will discuss the common issues that arise in SOGIE claims before the IRB. Join Adrienne Smith and Nicholas Woodward (Battista Smith Migration Law Group) and JRILN host Debbie Rachlis (HALCO) as they give practical tips for junior lawyers who represent LGBTQ+ claimants.


Adrienne Smith Adrienne Smith is a founding partner with Battista Smith Migration Law Group, a firm with expertise in immigration issues affecting the LGBTQ+ and HIV community. Adrienne has a J.D. from the University of Ottawa, a MA in Immigration and Settlement Studies from Ryerson University and a B.A. from McGill University. She is the recipient of the Public Interest Law Fellowship in National Security Law. Prior to becoming a lawyer, she previously served as a Policy Advisor at Citizenship and Immigration Canada. She regularly represents clients with all types of permanent and temporary applications to Canada, including medical and criminal inadmissibility issues, sponsorship applications and appeals, refugee claims and appeals, Federal Court applications, humanitarian and compassionate applications, study and visitor visas, and detention reviews.

Nicholas Woodward is an Associate Lawyer with Battista Smith Migration Law Group. Passionate about social justice, his practice focuses on helping vulnerable persons, including members of the LGBTQ community and those living with HIV, navigate the complexities of Canada’s immigration and refugee systems. Nicholas is fluently bilingual in English and French, and holds both a law degree (Juris Doctor), and an Honours Bachelor of Arts from the University of Ottawa. Nicholas joined Battista Smith following a clerkship at the Federal Court where he worked with the Honourable Justice Elizabeth Walker.

CPD: 30 Minutes EDI, 30 Minutes Professionalism

Replay Available Here

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