Prasanna Balasundaram, Director

Prasanna Balasundaram holds an impassioned belief, founded on his own lived experiences, in the transformative power of meaningful access to justice. Throughout his legal career, he has striven to advance the rights of marginalized peoples, including refugees and immigrants, racialized communities, women facing gender-based persecution, and LGBT+ individuals.

His legal practice focusses primarily on complex immigration and refugee law, particularly those involving constitutional law, exclusion, inadmissibility and national security issues. His work has encompassed both advocacy for the rights of refugees on a large scale, with constitutional challenges to the Designated Country of Origin regime and the Safe Third Country Agreement, and fighting for individuals, as exemplified by his work to reunite vindicated Guantanamo Bay detainees with their Canadian families.

Prasanna is also a dedicated advocate of the community legal clinic system and its importance in ensuring access to legal services for some of the most marginalized members of Canadian society. He has held leadership roles with the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers, Alliance for South Asian Aids Prevention, and the South Asian Legal Clinic of Ontario. In 2021, he was awarded the Law Foundation of Ontario’s Community Leadership in Justice Fellowship for his work aimed at creating a lasting legacy of access to justice, and the Association for Canadian Clinical Legal Education’s Cirillo Award for making a significant contribution to the life of Downtown Legal Services.

As director, Prasanna seeks to strengthen and promote the clinic’s role as a vehicle for justice, while offering student caseworkers a rich, dynamic, and transformative learning experience.