I'm a lawyer in Vancouver, Canada who's been representing refugees, trafficked women, migrants, stateless people and others in need of protection through my small independent law practice since 2001. I've worked on a wide range of protection cases for people from every continent in the world including:

  • Women who fear honour killings, spousal abuse, forced marriages, female genital mutilation, prostitution, slavery and other oppressive gender practices
  • Abused and abandoned children
  • Kurds, garifunas, Romas and other ethnic, religious, racial and linguistic minorities
  • Whistle blowers and others opposed to corruption and the mafia
  • People who fear gangs, paramilitaries, guerrilla groups and counterinsurgents
  • Buddhist monks, conscientious objectors, Olympic and other world-class athletes, LGBTQ claimants, defecting diplomats, indigenous leaders, torture survivors, religious converts, political dissidents, and human rights defenders.




Recently, I took a break from my law practice to do a two-year master's degree in International Human Rights Law at the University of Oxford, England. My thesis was on the humanitarian sources of the right to truth in international law.

My internationally notable refugee cases include:

Dr. Constancio Claver: Successful refugee case for Filipino indigenous rights leader who narrowly survived a politically-motivated ambush. His spouse, Alyce, was killed by multiple gunshot wounds while trying to protect Dr. Claver during the ambush. The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extra-Judicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions cited the incident in a case study on extra-judicial killings in the Philippines: see page 60, paragraphs 28-64 of the UN Special Rapporteur's Report. The United Nations Permanent Peoples' Tribunal relied on evidence presented by Dr. Claver and other similarly situated people in its Verdict against the Philippines. Dr. Claver talks about his case in a video tribute to Alyce.The case is cited in numerous media outlets including those found here, here, here and here.

Amir Kazemian: Successful humanitarian and compassionate grounds case for Iranian survivor of torture. After a decade of unsuccessful legal applications, Amir took sanctuary in a Vancouver church one hour before his scheduled deportation to Iran. The case illustrates a recurring paradox I've found in my work: severely traumatized people who are most in need of protection are also the ones most likely to fall through the cracks of our legal system. It took over a year to arrange significant new evidence that corroborated the torture and addressed messy issues that had arisen during Amir's interactions with the justice system. The case had strong community support and ended with a fair and just Government decision. Numerous media outlets kept track of the case, including the Globe & Mail, CBC, Globe & Mail, CTV News and Vancouver Sun.

Raúl Gática Bautista: Successful refugee case for survivor of torture and indigenous rights leader from Oaxaca, Mexico. This case attracted a series of Amnesty International Urgent Action Appeals that you can download and read: AI Urgent Action 2003, AI Urgent Action 2002, AI Urgent Action 2001, AI Urgent Action 1998.

Most refugee decisions are closed to the public but you can find a few of my case decisions available for public reading at the below links:

In addition to significant pro bono advice and support to individuals, NGOs, legal clinics and humanitarian institutions, I've delivered numerous voluntary educational presentations to academic, community, legal, governmental and NGO audiences. I've volunteered in refugee camps, been Chairperson of the Canadian Bar Association Refugee Lawyers Group in Vancouver, advocated for policy changes, started a student refugee sponsorship programme at York University, served on the Editorial Board for Refugee Update, spent six years on the Board of Directors for the Iyengar Yoga Association of Canada, and much more.

I'm grateful to the volunteers, community activists, employees, faith groups, interpreters, colleagues, teachers, mentors, NGOs, students, friends and family who have generously supported my work over the years. Our long hours of case preparation together have made my journey as a lawyer honourable and memorable.


Master of Studies (MSt), International Human Rights Law, University of Oxford, England, 2017
Thesis: The Right to Truth Re-Examined
Law Society of British Columbia Scholarship

Bachelor of Common Law (LLB) with distinction, McGill University, Montreal, 1998

Bachelor of Civil Law (BCL) with distinction, McGill University, Montreal, 1998

Master of Philiosophy (MPhil), Social Anthropology, University of Oxford, England, 1994
Thesis: An Anthropological Approach to the Relationship Between Collective and Individual Rights

Commonwealth Scholarship - full funding

Honours Bachelor (BA Hons), Economics and Political Science, summa cum laude, York University, Toronto, 1991
Numerous academic scholarships and awards - full funding

Law Articles

British Columbia Ministry of Attorney General, 1998-1999

Call to the Bar

Law Society of British Columbia, 1999

©2004-2018 Naomi Minwalla. All Rights Reserved.