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If your refugee claim is denied

Get a lawyer as soon as possible. If you do not take action, you could be deported very quickly.

If you are not eligible for an appeal to the Refugee Appeal Division (RAD), you can apply for a judicial review at the Federal Court.  Only a lawyer can represent you at Federal Court.

Who should apply for a judicial review?

Your Notice of Decision will tell you if you can appeal or if you are only eligible for a judicial review.

In general, the following groups should apply for a judicial review:

  • designated country of origin (DCO) claims
  • designated foreign nationals (DFNs) claims
  • claims that are withdrawn or abandoned
  • claims that are found to have no credible basis or are manifestly unfounded
  • claims that were started at the Canada-United States border as an exception to the Safe Third Country Agreement (STCA), such as close family members in Canada
  • if the Minister has applied either to stop (“cease”) your refugee protection, or to cancel (“vacate”) the decision that allowed your claim
  • refugee claims that were sent to the IRB before December 15, 2012
  • RAD appellants can apply to Federal Court to review negative RAD decisions

How do I apply for a judicial review?

You need to apply for a judicial review within 15 days of receiving your Notice of Decision. The process is very complicated, so you should get a lawyer right away. Only a lawyer can represent you at Federal Court.

If you cannot get a lawyer in time, it is possible to start the process on your own. This is not recommended unless absolutely necessary to meet your deadline. Once the deadline has passed, you will lose your right to a judicial review unless a lawyer can apply to the Court for an extension of time..

Step 1: Prepare

Step 2: Apply

  • Within 15 days of receiving your decision, you need to file and serve the Notice of application with the Federal Court and the Department of Justice. If you do not meet this deadline, you lose your right to a judicial review.
  • If you do not have a lawyer, instructions are available on how you can file and serve the notice in either Toronto or Ottawa.

Step 3: Perfect your application for juridical review

  • 30 days after you file your notice, you have to submit your legal arguments and supporting documents. This step is called “Perfection.” If you do not perfect your application, your judicial review will be dismissed.