In a decision on April 9, 2015 in the Federal court The Honourable Madam Justice Mactavish dealt with an issue of whether The International Relief Fund for the Afflicted and Needy (Canada) ("IRFAN") could use funds to pay past and future legal costs. IRFAN used to be a registered charity and then lost its charitable status and finally was in April 2014 added as a listed terrorist entity. Such listing effectively freezes the assets of IRFAN. IRFAN was alleged to have provided resources to Hamas, which is a listed terrorist organization.
IRFAN had previously asked the Federal government to
unfreeze monies held in its lawyer’s trust account to allow for the payment of legal fees that IRFAN had already incurred. IRFAN sought a further exemption from the Minister to permit it to raise funds to pay for legal advice in relation to a variety of issues arising out of the listing.  By letter dated November 27, 2014, the Minister granted an exemption to allow for the transfer of funds to pay for legal services that had been rendered to IRFAN prior to it becoming a listed entity. The Minister refused, however, to authorize an exemption to allow for the raising of funds to pay for legal advice.
So the Federal government was allowing for past legal fees to be paid but not future legal fees. Mactavish dismissed IRFAN's motion as there was no evidence of IRFAN being indigent which is required for one of the tests. Mactavish suggested that IRFAN try to obtain pro bono counsel.
There is an interesting discussion of whether a lawyer could be charged under the Criminal Code if they were to act for IRFAN, which is a listed terrorist organization:
 I recognize that an argument could be made that by acting for a listed entity such as IRFAN, counsel could at least theoretically contravene the provisions of section 83.03 of the Criminal Code, R.S.C. 1985, c. C-46 by providing services to a listed entity. There is no evidence before me, however, that this has been an impediment to finding counsel willing to represent IRFAN in this matter.
 That said, a final comment should be made for the benefit of counsel who IRFAN may consult in the future, who may be concerned that they could run afoul section 83.03 of the Criminal Code by agreeing to represent IRFAN.
 The Minister’s counsel has clearly stated on the record that there would be no basis on which to prosecute counsel simply for representing IRFAN in connection with this application. Citing the Supreme Court’s decision in R. v. Khawaja, 2012 SCC 69 at para. 53,  3 S.C.R. 555, counsel stated that Parliament’s intent in enacting the terrorism offences of the Criminal Code “was not to prohibit innocent or socially useful conduct that does not materially enhance the abilities of a terrorist group to facilitate or carry out terrorist activity”
For further information on IRFAN see:
Do you require legal advice with respect to Canadian or Ontario non-profits or charities?
Mark Blumberg is a partner at the law firm of Blumberg Segal LLP in Toronto and works almost exclusively in the areas of non-profit and charity law.