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LAO: Discretionary Letters

Date: Monday, May 16, 2022

The CLA Legal Aid committee is back with another presentation on Monday May 16, 2022 via ZOOM from 5 to 7 p.m. for a CPD on LAO: DISCRETIONARY LETTERS.

We all have to write discretionary letters for LAO and it would be nice to figure out the best way to write those letters in order to maximize our chances of having our requests approved. You will be hearing directly from people who work at Legal Aid Ontario : Darcy DesLauriers, Aliyah Bhayani and Shanna Scarlet. You will also hear from defence lawyer Chris Nagel, who will provide tips on how to write successful discretionary letters. This event will be moderated by Lisa Carnelos and Maya Shukairy, members of the CLA Legal Aid Committee.


Shanna Scarlett

After being called to the Bar in 2001, Shanna Scarlett worked for 2 years as an associate at Borden Ladner Gervais where she also spent her articles. In 2005, she moved to Legal Aid Ontario to follow her desire to pursue a career in social justice and criminal law. Since 2005, Shanna has worked for Legal Aid Ontario both as an employee and per diem, in various capacities including Criminal, Special, Family and Prison Duty Counsel. This past August, Shanna joined Lawyer Services and Payments on a secondment and her current role includes processing lawyer accounts for payment, including requests for discretion and disbursements.

Aliyah Bhayani

After being called to the Bar, Aliyah Bhayani started her tenure with Legal Aid Ontario as a staff lawyer at a community legal clinic, representing vulnerable clients before the Social Benefits Tribunal. She then moved to the Newmarket Courthouse where she worked as criminal duty counsel for several years. After developing an interest in adult learning, Aliyah moved to LAO’s Provincial head office, where she worked with the Learning and Development team to design and implement training programs for staff lawyers across the Province. In 2018, Aliyah joined the Lawyer Services and Payments department where she continues to work. Currently, she is on a temporary assignment, assisting with projects related to LAO’s modernization. In past years, Aliyah has also spent time working at the Immigration and Refugee Board as well as the Law Foundation of Ontario.

Darcy DesLauriers

Darcy DesLauriers attended Osgoode Hall Law School and was called to the Bar in 1997.  Darcy had a criminal defence practice in Toronto prior to joining Legal Aid Ontario in 2003 as a duty counsel lawyer at the Old City Hall Courts.  While there he represented clients in all of the specialty courts and later became the primary duty counsel in both the Toronto Drug Treatment court and the Mental Health court.  In 2009 he moved to the Provincial office as a staff lawyer in the Lawyer Services and Payments department, he become the manager for the GTA region in 2012, and the Director of that department in 2017.

Chris Nagel

Chris earned his Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice from Carleton University. He then attended the University of Ottawa for law school where he received his Juris Doctor. During his time in law school, Chris focused his studies in the area of criminal law and worked as a case worker for the University’s Conviction Review Project. As a case worker, he reviewed cases involving murder convictions. After graduating, Chris articled with Innocence Canada, a non-profit organization dedicated to identifying, advocating for, and exonerating individuals convicted of a crime that they did not commit. At Innocence Canada, Chris worked on high profile wrongful conviction cases and assisted counsel draft Applications for Ministerial Review to the Federal Minister of Justice. Chris was called to the Ontario Bar in June of 2019. Immediately upon his call to the Bar, he worked as an associate with CCSK Criminal Law. In November of 2021, Chris opened up his own law firm. Chris is currently a sole practitioner at the Law Office of Christopher Nagel in Toronto where he has a trial practice devoted to criminal law.


  • FREE: CLA Members
  • $20 plus HST: Non-members

Register online by going to https://members.criminallawyers.ca/event-4827252

This session will be recorded and may be made available at a later date.

There are no refunds.