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17th April 2023BY Qasim Nihang

Understanding Judicial Review in the Canadian Immigration Process


Navigating the complex world of Canadian immigration can be challenging, and sometimes, decisions made by immigration officers or the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) may seem unfair or unreasonable. When this happens, there is a legal recourse available to individuals called “judicial review.” In this blog post, we will explore the concept of judicial review in the Canadian immigration context, including what it is, the grounds on which it can be sought, and the potential outcomes of a successful application.

What is Judicial Review?

Judicial review is a process by which an individual can challenge a decision made by an immigration officer or the IRB in federal court. It is important to note that judicial review is not an appeal, meaning the court will not re-assess the merits of the case or substitute its own judgment for that of the decision-maker. Instead, the court’s focus is on examining the legality, fairness, and reasonableness of the decision-making process itself.

Grounds for Judicial Review:

There are three primary grounds on which an individual can seek judicial review in the Canadian immigration context:

  1. Procedural Fairness: Procedural fairness encompasses the principles of transparency, impartiality, and the right to be heard. If an individual believes that the decision-maker did not provide a fair opportunity to present their case, or that the decision was made in a biased manner, they may seek judicial review on the grounds of procedural fairness.
  2. Jurisdiction: Jurisdiction refers to the authority or power of the decision-maker to make the decision in question. If an individual believes that the decision-maker did not have the legal authority to make the decision, they may seek judicial review on the grounds of jurisdiction.
  3. Reasonableness: Reasonableness is a somewhat flexible standard that focuses on whether the decision was based on relevant evidence and if the decision-maker provided adequate reasons for their decision. If an individual believes that the decision was not reasonable or supported by the available evidence, they may seek judicial review on the grounds of reasonableness.

Potential Outcomes of a Successful Judicial Review:

If the court finds that the decision in question was not made in accordance with the law, it may set aside the decision and send the matter back to the immigration officer or IRB for reconsideration. In some cases, the court may also provide specific instructions on how the matter should be reconsidered.

The process of judicial review in the Canadian immigration context provides an essential check and balance to ensure that decisions are made fairly, reasonably, and within the bounds of the law. If you believe that an immigration decision affecting you or a loved one was made improperly, it is essential to consult with an experienced immigration lawyer who can help determine whether judicial review is an appropriate course of action and guide you through the process. At Nihang Law Professional Corporation, our team of dedicated immigration lawyers is here to help you navigate the complexities of the Canadian immigration system and protect your rights every step of the way. Contact us today for a consultation.


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