by Rekha McNutt
I spent last week working on a record 5 Judicial Review applications on a variety of subject matters:
A very complex 1F exclusion issue on a refugee matter
A negative PRRA application for part of a family, where the other part got approved at the IAD
A negative Refugee appeal decision by the RAD
A work permit refusal for misrepresentation
A study permit refusal for a young man wanting to study at the U of Calgary
Judicial Reviews are something I do very often (at least a few every month). Often times, there is no option but to access the Federal Court because an officer is not otherwise likely to change their decision, no matter how much evidence is provided.
The Federal Court process is not an “appeal”. It’s a review. The Court will review the evidence that an applicant provided as well as the decision itself, and determine whether the decision was reasonable and/or correct. The argument to the Court is based on a number of precedents (ie. prior cases) that are relevant on the facts and on the legal issues.
Sometimes the underlying application is deficient and a Court application is not the best option.
The most difficult part of this process for a lawyer is to quickly identify the issues at play in order to advise clients on their chances of succeeding at the Court. This comes with years of experience, especially with doing the underlying application work.
The timelines for starting the Federal Court Judicial Review can be very short. For decisions made in Canada, the deadline to start the process is only 15 days from the date of receipt of the decision! For decisions made outside Canada, you have 60 days.
Because of the quick timelines involved, it is important to seek legal as soon as possible.