A refugee claimant was handed a reprieve on his removal from Canada because of an angry blow-up between his lawyer and the immigration judge, a feud betraying such animosity the Federal Court ruled the bewildered client could not have expected an unbiased hearing.

The decision raises the spectre of the “automatic disqualification” of judges to hear immigration cases, where the small pool of immigration lawyers repeatedly runs up against an even smaller pool of immigration and refugee board adjudicators.

The Haitian man’s bid for asylum in Canada got off to a bad start when his Montreal lawyer, Chantal Ianniciello, realized she was appearing before Immigration and Refugee Board adjudicator Youssoupha Diop.

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