About Ms. Gerami

Arghavan Gerami is the Founder and Senior Counsel at Gerami Law Professional Corporation (‘PC’), a full-service immigration law firm in Ottawa, Ontario.  She completed her Juris Doctor and Master of Laws at Osgoode Hall Law School, York University and was called to the Ontario Bar in 2007. Ms. Gerami also completed a Master of Arts at the University of Toronto and an Honours Bachelor of Arts at York University, graduating first in her class.

Since founding Gerami Law PC, in 2011 Ms. Gerami has focused her practice on immigration and refugee litigation, and successfully represented numerous clients before the Federal and provincial Courts, as well as the various divisions of the Immigration and Refugee Board.

Before founding Gerami Law, Ms. Gerami worked at the Ministry of Attorney General and the Department of Justice. She also had the privilege of serving the Honourable Mr. Justice M. Evans at the Federal Court of Appeal on immigration and administrative law appeals.

Ms. Gerami is an Executive Member-at-Large on the Immigration Law Section of the Canadian Bar Association.  In 2017 and 2018 Ms. Gerami served on the Organizing Committee of the annual CBA Immigration Law Conference. She has also represented the CBA at the Immigration and Refugee Board’s Consultative Committee for the past two years, including stakeholder meetings involving the Federal Court, the Department of Justice, the Immigration and Refugee Board, Immigration, Citizenship and Refugees Canada as well as the Canada Border Services Agency, among others.   In 2020, she was appointed as the Co-Chair of the Anti-Racism Committee, as well as the Co-Chair of the Federal Court’s 2020-2021 Immigration and Refugee Law Moot.

Ms Gerami has been interviewed by national and local television stations on numerous occasions, such as the CBC and Global News, and quoted in national and local newspapers such as the Globe and Mail, National Post and the Ottawa Citizen.  Ms. Gerami has also published numerous journal articles and called on to speak at various immigration and refugee conferences and events across Canada.

As a Supervising Principal to articling students, Ms. Gerami enjoys facilitating the career development of law students and young lawyers. She has provided guest lectures to students at the University of Ottawa, and been asked by the Federal Court to argue two of her cases at the University of Ottawa’s Courtroom, allowing students to observe and learn.

Ms. Gerami enjoys spending time with her two children and husband, her miniature poodle (Bambi) and her cat (Simba), and she also loves to travel and practice yoga.

EDUCATION

  • Master of Laws, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University (2009).
  • Juris Doctor, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University (2004).
  • Master of Arts, International Relations, University of Toronto (2000).
  • Honours B.A., Political Science, York University, Summa cum laude (1998).

REPORTED CASES

  • Majkowski v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2021 FC 582
  • Metallo v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2021 FC 575
  • Qosaj v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2021 FC 565
  • Ghazi v Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2021 CanLII 81322 (CA IRB)
  • X (Re), 2020 CanLII 108124 (CA IRB)
  • Younis v. Canada (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship), 2021 FCA 49
  • Hamid v. Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, 2021 FC 100
  • Crenna v. Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, 2020 FC 491
  • Mahdawi v. Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, 2020 FC 473
  • Abdillahi v. Minister of Citizenship and Immigration 2020 FC 422
  • Lopez Bidart v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2020 FC 307
  • Canada (Citizenship and Immigration) v. Hammed, 2020 FC 130
  • Al Khatib v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2020 FC 3
  • X (Re), 2020 CanLII 48593 (CA IRB), <http://canlii.ca/t/j8r12
  • Khudeish v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2020 FC 1124
  • Yavari v. Canada (Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness), 2020 FC 469
  • Mwayuma v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration) 2019 FC 1573
  • X (Re), 2019 CanLII 143599 (CA IRB), <http://canlii.ca/t/j9bm9
  • Younis v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2019 FC 291
  • Al-satari v Canada (Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness), 2019 CanLII 92779
  • Singh v. Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, 2018 FC 744
  • Younis v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration) 2018 FC 209
  • Brdar v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2018 FC 415
  • Mavhiko v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2018 FC 1066
  • Naseri Asbagh v. Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, 2018 FC 85
  • Zhamila v. Canada (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship), 2018 FC 88
  • Ali v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2018 FC 588
  • X (Re), 2018 CanLII 144245 (CA IRB), <http://canlii.ca/t/j20d5
  • Igbo v Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2017 CanLII 96297
  • Hassouna v. Minister of Citizenship and Immigration 2017 FC 473
  • Adjei v Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2016 CanLII 105559 (CA IRB)
  • Fotros v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2016 FC 842
  • Ali v. Canada (Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness), 2016 FC 1406
  • Ahmed v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration) 2015 FC 792
  • Ali v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration) 2015 FC 1012
  • Abdalghader v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration) 2015 FC 581
  • Etienne v. Canada (Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness) 2015 FC 415
  • Razburgaj v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2015 FC 1343
  • Odia v. Minister of citizenship and Immigration, 2014 FC 663
  • R. v. Greenwood, 2014 NSCA 80 (CanLII)
  • Etienne v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration) 2014 FC 937
  • Kleckner v. Canada (Attorney General), 2014 ONSC 322
  • Dep v. Canada (Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness), 2014 ONSC 6498
  • Caloca v. The Hellenic Community of Ottawa and District, 2014 HRTO 1847 (CanLII)
  • Collins v. Canada (Attorney General), 2013 FCA 105 (CanLII)
  • Ahmedov v. Canada (Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness), 2013 FC 730
  • M.F. v. Family and Children’s Services of Lanark, Leeds and Grenville, Application for Leave, 2013-10-10, Case #35467.
  • R. v. Jeanvenne, 2011 ONSC 7244
  • R. v. Jeanvenne, 2011 ONSC 7621 (CanLII).

PUBLICATIONS

SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS

EXPERIENCE

Gerami Law PC, Founder and Senior Counsel

Ottawa, Ontario, Aug. 2011 – Present

  • Barrister at Law in Ontario since June 2007
  • Founded Gerami Law Professional Corporation in 2011
  • Immigration and refugee litigation and appellate advocacy expert, appearing before all the Federal and Provincial Courts, as well as the various Immigration and Refugee Board divisions (RPD, RAD, IAD).
  • Expertise in the following areas:
    • refugee claim process and refugee appeals;
    • criminal inadmissibility, human or international rights violations, organized criminality and misrepresentation;
    • citizenship litigation, including revocation of citizenship;
    • fighting removals from Canada, including pre-removal risk assessments and danger opinions;
    • immigration detentions;
    • vacation/cessation litigation;
    • temporary, permanent residency and citizenship applications
  • 2011 – 2016: in addition to immigration and refugee law, also practiced all areas of criminal defence, including homicides, complex criminal trials, Mr. Big investigations, criminal appeals and sentencing hearings

PROFESSIONAL AFFILIATIONS

  • Canadian Immigration Lawyers Association (Founding Member)
  • County of Carleton Law Association
  • Canadian Bar Association
  • Canadian Council for Refugees
  • Canadian Refugee Lawyers Association
  • Law Society of Upper Canada
  • Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada
  • Ontario Bar Association
  • Refugee Lawyers Association
  • United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

HONOURS AND AWARDS

  • Canadian Bar Association 2021 Volunteer Award to recognize significant contributions to the CBA Immigration Law Section
  • Nominated for the CBA Touchstone Award 2020 (celebrates the accomplishments of an individual or an organization who has excelled in promoting equality in the legal profession, the judiciary, or the legal community in Canada)
  • CARL Human Rights Award in recognition of “extraordinary contribution to the advancement of its mission of protecting the human rights of refugees and migrants”
  • Entrance Scholarship for JD and LLM, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University
  • Ontario Graduate Scholarship (for Graduate studies in political science, Monk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy).

PROBONO ENGAGEMENTS

  • Led CBA’s Pro-bono Initiative in Response to the Afghanistan Crisis, to facilitate access to legal advice to individuals in Afghanistan and neighbouring countries, particularly women judges and human rights advocates;
  • Co-Chair of 2020-2021 Federal Court Immigration and Refugee Law Moot: Led a team of lawyers (private bar, Department of Justice and IRB lawyers) to design the moot problem; Crafted the facts and wrote a mock IRCC and Federal Court decision; Examined the best arguments for the Applicant and Respondent; Led and worked with Committee members to draft the Bench Memo and followed through the necessary steps to finalize the moot for Canadian law schools, including explaining the case to the judges and responding to their questions in assessing the moot participants;
  • Mentored law students and FC/FCA Law Clerks: Invited by the Federal Court to speak to FC/FCA Law Clerks twice over the past 10 years concerning their career options; Invited twice by the Federal Court to argue a case at the University of Ottawa Courtroom for students to observe, and ask questions from the Applicant and Minister’s Counsel as well as the presiding Justice after the hearing;
  • Provided Guest Lectures at University of Ottawa on immigration and refugee law as well as on career development topics; Mentor to University of Ottawa students from diverse backgrounds in the last 10 years;
  • Supervised two articling students at Gerami Law PC every year from 2010 to present and completed their LSO evaluations; Hired several articling students and Federal Court Law Clerks as first year lawyers; Created networking opportunities for articling students to meet members of the Ottawa Bar; Provided references for students in support of their job applications after articling;
  • Provided access to pro bono continuing legal education to the Ottawa Bar through the Ottawa Immigration and Refugee Seminar Series, (2 hour session eligible for 2 LSO credits); From 2017 to 2020 participants attended a large conference room available at Gerami Law PC premises (20 – 25 participants) and a networking dinner after the session, also open to students; Since March 2020, the sessions have continued virtually, extending participation to other Canadian cities;
  • Lobbied the federal government (from 2015 – 2018) through Member of Parliament, Minister Catherine McKenna, the IRB and the media to re-open their IRB office in Ottawa, to address the disproportionate impact on refugees who had to travel from Ottawa to Montreal with their families for their refugee hearings at their own expense (Ottawa IRB Office re-opened in 2018);
  • As the CBA representative (for Ontario) on the IRB Consultative Committee, participated in many hours of stakeholder meetings involving the Federal Court, the Department of Justice, the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB), Immigration, Citizenship and Refugees Canada (IRCC) as well as the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) among others; Worked collaboratively with the IRB Consultative Committee members to identify and make necessary amendments to the IRB’s Gender Guidelines and Detention Guidelines, as well as addressing other policy issues relating to the operation of the IRB tribunals; Co- Chair of CBA Anti-Racism Committee (2020 to 2022);
  • Led numerous CBA Working Groups to prepare submissions to the Courts and Tribunals, government departments, Ministers and Parliament, taking a balanced, fair and consistent approach with due account of the Government’s perspective and policy challenges; Developed innovative approaches and made recommendations for feasible advancements in the administration of the law;
  • Brought an anti-racism lens to CBA submissions; Worked on ideas and initiatives to advance diversity in the CBA, the legal profession and the judiciary; Led a number of time-sensitive CBA Submissions during the Covid-19 pandemic;
  • Contributed to the CBA’s Federal Court Bench and Bar Committee, particularly during the Covid-19 Pandemic, advocating for the modernization of the Federal Court filing process; Nominated as one of CBA Representative to the Bench and Bar Committee (2021)
  • Advocated for the implementation of virtual hearings for the IRB tribunals, and persuaded the IRB to launch a Virtual Hearing Pilot Project in Ottawa (September 2020), which was later implemented in other regions (October 2020);
  • Communicated with the Federal Court (through the CBA Bench and Bar Committee) and government officials to understand the practical difficulties arising from the onset of Covid-19, and discussed access to justice issues arising from the suspension of IRB proceedings; Demonstrated leadership and dedication to the right of individuals to be heard within a reasonable time-frame and in a procedurally fair manner.
  • Collaborated with the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers (2020 – 2021) on ideas to prepare country conditions evidence relating to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic through their Student Chapters, so that Counsel can access this resource in fighting removals of their clients from Canada, which was subsequently implemented in 2021.

COMMUNITY AND CIVIC ACTIVITIES

  • Iranian Canadian Legal Professionals: Member; Facilitated access to legal services in the Persian community;
  • Reach Canada: Member of Pro bono Roster to provide legal services to individuals suffering from disabilities;
  • Immigrant Women Services Ottawa (‘IWSO’): Member; referral of women refugees suffering gender violence to counselling, interpretation and other services offered by IWSO; Assisted with arranging their initial appointment and connecting them with crisis counsellors;
  • County of Carleton Law Association: Member; Promoted and participated in food drives and other fundraising initiatives in the Ottawa legal community;
  • Regularly engaged with the Canadian media on immigration and refugee issues as well as important legal and policy developments

LANGUAGES

  • English
  • Farsi
  • French (Intermediate)

REFERENCES

The Canadian Bar Association Immigration Law Section referred to Arghavan and one of her cases during a conference in Winnipeg to highlight the importance of lawyers, and their role in immigration. Please, play the video below to listen.

 

Before Founding Gerami Law PC

FEDERAL COURT OF APPEAL (Ottawa, Ontario, Aug. 2010 – 2011)

  • Worked with Honourable Justice John M. Evans on appeals in the area of immigration and refugee, human rights, constitutional, and administrative law.

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE CANADA, Foreign affairs and international trade legal services (Ottawa, Ontario, Jan. – Aug. 2010)

  • Legal Counsel: constitutional law, international security and human rights law.

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE CANADA, public sector  (Ottawa, Ontario, Mar. – Dec. 2009)

  • Legal Counsel: human rights law, constitutional litigation, and access to information and privacy law.

ONTARIO MINISTRY OF ATTORNEY GENERAL, constitutional law branch/policy division (Toronto, 2006 – 2007)

  • Student-at-Law: constitutional and human rights litigation,administrative and aboriginal law.

HUMAN RESOURCES AND SKILLS DEVELOPMENT CANADA, federal labour standards review commission – (Ottawa/Toronto, 2005 – 2006)

  • Legal Advisor to Commissioner Harry Arthurs, working on the Commissioner’s Final Report: “Fairness at Work: Federal Labour Standards for the 21st Century”

OSGOODE HALL LAW SCHOOL, YORK UNIVERSITY (North York, 2002 – 2003)

  • Legal Researcher to Professor Harry Arthurs in the area of Canadian labour law, constitutional and human rights law

DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL TRADE, Young professionals program – (Ottawa, 2000 – 2001)

  • Project Coordinator to ‘Project Ploughshares’ (Canada and Nairobi)
  • Participated in the 2001 United Nations Conference on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons.