Citizenship administration: Judicial review and appeals

This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada staff. It is posted on the Department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.

Applicants who have been refused Canadian citizenship as well as those who have been denied citizenship certificates (proof applicants) would have access to judicial review of the decision. An application for judicial review may be filed with respect to any matter under the Citizenship Act, but only with leave of the Federal Court.

The process begins by filing an application to the Federal Court for leave to seek judicial review. “Leave” in this context means “permission” to have a matter heard by the Court at an oral hearing.

Filing an application for leave to commence an application for judicial review

The application for leave must be filed and served within the prescribed time frame.

Process

Stage 1: Application for leave to commence an application for judicial review

The applicant must satisfy the Court that the application raises:

  • a serious issue; or
  • an arguable issue upon which the application might succeed.

Stage 2: Application for judicial review

The application for judicial review proceeds where the Court grants leave.

If the Federal Court judge denies the application for leave

The application is dismissed and proceeds no further because there is no right to appeal the Court’s leave decision.

If the Federal Court judge grants leave to commence an application for judicial review

The Court will set a hearing date and will also set timeframes within which the parties must serve and file their affidavits; conduct cross-examinations; and file their respective arguments.

Application types that have access to judicial review and appeals

All application types may become the subject of an application for leave to commence an application for judicial review.

Who can file an application for judicial review?

Typically, applicants who have been refused Canadian citizenship as well those who have been denied citizenship certificates (proof applicants) may file an application to the Federal Court for leave to seek judicial review in order to challenge the decision of a citizenship judge or a decision-maker.

The Minister may also file an application for leave to commence an application for judicial review in respect of a decision of a citizenship judge.

Appeal to the Federal Court of Appeal

An appeal to the Federal Court of Appeal (FCA) is only possible where the Federal Court judge, in rendering judgment, certifies that there is a serious question of general importance involved and states the question.

In general terms, a serious question of general importance will arise where the Court, in determining the application, finds an issue that transcends the interests of the parties and contemplates issues of broad significance or of general application, and that is also dispositive of the case.

The FCA will rule on the serious question of general importance which was certified by the Federal Court, as well as rule on other aspects of the appeal that are within its jurisdiction.

Appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada

An appeal may be made to the Supreme Court from any final or other judgment of the FCA where leave to appeal from that judgment is granted by the Supreme Court because the case raises an issue of public importance.

The appellant must file the notice of application for leave to appeal with the registrar of the Supreme Court within 60 days after the date of the final judgment appealed from.

Procedures for filing an application for leave to commence an application for judicial review

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