In 2011, PBSC and Dentons LLP developed the Tax Court of Canada Advocacy Project (TAP) at the suggestion of the Chief Justice of the Tax Court of Canada as a response to the significant number of unrepresented appellants appearing before the Court.
The project enables law students — under the careful supervision of tax litigators — to gain practical experience representing low-income taxpayers. Working in pairs to represent appellants in the informal procedure (claims under $25,000), students meet with their clients, gather evidence, prepare arguments, and appear before the Court. A supervising lawyer is present during the hearing. This unique project enables students to take an appeal from inception to hearing, learning valuable client management, interviewing and advocacy skills.
At the same time, PBSC students have an impact on access to justice in an often overlooked area of law. We have assisted farmers, small business owners and students, among others, who would otherwise not have had any assistance in navigating the appeal process. These unrepresented taxpayers have the opportunity to be genuine participants in their own cases — with the help of PBSC student volunteers.
For the 2017/18 schoolyear, TAP is serving clients in Toronto, Edmonton, Ottawa and Fredericton. Lawyer supervisors are critically important to a project such as this and we thank all of the firms who have come on board to work with TAP. In Toronto, we are delighted to welcome McCarthy Tétrault and Aird & Berlis, who join long-term project partner Dentons LLP as project partners. In Edmonton, TAP continues to run under the supervision and with the support of Dentons LLP. In Ottawa, we partner with HazloLaw. And in Fredericton, PBSC students are delivering tax law PLE presentations under the supervision of Peters Rouse Barristers & Solicitors.