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How does someone apply to the Federal Court for judicial review?

In most cases, applying to the Federal Court is a two-step process.

  1. The first step is called an ‘application for leave’ or ‘leave application’. This is a written application asking the Court to review a decision and presenting arguments in support of the request. Lawyers from the Department of Justice respond to the application. A Federal Court judge considers the written arguments and decides whether the applicant's case is strong enough that leave should be granted. If the judge does not grant leave, no reasons are given. There is no appeal from a refusal to grant leave.
  2. If the judge grants leave, this means the Court will hear the judicial review application. A date is set for oral arguments. The applicant’s lawyer will make the arguments for the applicant. The applicant does not participate unless they are representing themselves.

Federal Court applications can be made in English or in French.

Last updated: May 1, 2014


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