The complainant acted as counsel for a refugee claimant at the Refugee Protection Division (RPD).
The complaint related to the member’s decision about the claimant’s request for a change of the date of a hearing. The claimant applied for a change of the hearing date, claiming that she never received the Notice to Appear. The request was denied and the claimant sought a reconsideration of that decision. The member issued a decision in his capacity as coordinating member, denying the request for reconsideration. The complainant alleged that the member’s conduct violated the Code of Conduct for Members of the IRB (Code of Conduct). More specifically, it was alleged that:
- The member’s conduct was unprofessional, unreasonable and unfair and it put counsel’s integrity into question;
- The member’s decision suggested that counsel was lying about not receiving the Notice to Appear; and
- It was unreasonable to expect the claimant to find new counsel to represent her on short notice.
The Office of Integrity forwarded the complaint to the Chairperson for a decision on whether some of the allegations were outside the scope of the complaints process under paragraph 5.5 of the Procedures for Making a Complaint About a Member (Complaints Procedures).
Both parties were informed about the resolution of the complaint through a decision letter from the Chairperson.
In his decision letter, the Chairperson stated that the complaint related to the member’s decision and the exercise of his adjudicative discretion. The complaint was not about the member’s conduct. Paragraph 3.3 of the Complaints Procedures states that a complaint must be about a member’s conduct which is believed to be contrary to the Code of Conduct. In other words, the complaint process is about how members behave while exercising their duties.
Therefore, the Chairperson decided to dismiss the complaint under paragraph 5.5(a) of the Complaints Procedures because the complaint was not within the scope of the Complaints Procedures.
The file was closed.
Note - In this case, the complaint related solely to the content of the member’s decision. Paragraph 3.3 of the Procedures for Making a Complaint About a Member states that “A complaint must be about the conduct of a member which is believed to the contrary to the Code of Conduct. A complaint cannot be about a member’s decision”. Complaints about a member’s decisions are not accepted for investigation. This approach is based in the legal requirement that members’ adjudicative independence cannot be fettered.