Judicial review

Only members of Legal Aid Ontario’s (LAO) refugee and immigration appellate panel can acknowledge Judicial Review (JR) certificates and represent LAO clients at the Federal Court.

LAO now issues a JR four‑hour merit assessment opinion certificate to eligible clients.

All appellate panel members must use the JR merit assessment form. Failure to use the form will result in a delay in the processing of merit assessments and payments. LAO’s Refugee and Immigration Area Committee will review the merit assessments. Should LAO determine there is merit, a 15‑hour authorization for application will be issued to panel members for leave to apply in the Federal Court for judicial review. Should leave be granted, LAO will add a 12‑hour authorization for the judicial review, plus attendance.

Appellate panel members who complete an opinion but who are unable or unwilling to perfect the application, can request LAO issue a separate JR certificate to the lawyer perfecting the judicial review.

All appellate panel members must attach the JR memorandum and the decision under review to their online account. You do not need to attach the memorandum to the online account if you have already sent it as part of your merit assessment application. Periodic audits of these legal work products will be carried out by panel officers as part of LAO’s quality oversight function.

As certificate coverage for JR opinion certificates is now in effect, appellate panel members cannot charge privately (fees, disbursements) for the purposes of completing an opinion for judicial review for claimants who are legal aid eligible.

Discretion available for submissions on Federal Court questions for certification

Lawyers can apply for discretion to cover the time they need to make a submission, in writing, for a Federal Court post-hearing appeal based on potential “serious questions of general importance.”

Counsel can apply for this discretion coverage by completing the District Area Director exception request section on the discretion request form.