In my field, I am used to being brief.
The Courts Administration Service Act provides for a unified provision of administrative services for the four federal courts: the Federal Court of Appeal, the Federal Court, the Court Martial Appeal Court of Canada, and the Tax Court of Canada, each one of them being a superior court of record.
The chief administrator is the deputy head of the Courts Administration Service, and the chief administrator has all the powers necessary for the overall effective and efficient management of the administration of all four courts. There's one central administration for all four courts.
The chief administrator must consult with the four chief justices in relation to administrative matters pertaining to the operations of their own courts. The Courts Administration Service Act does distinguish between administrative functions, which fall under the chief administrator's jurisdiction, and judicial functions, which fall under the judiciary.
Consultation and coordination between the administrative and judicial activities are key to ensuring the optimal administration of justice for all Canadians, but primacy of the act is accorded to the judiciary, as the chief justices may issue binding directions in writing to the chief administrator with respect to any matter within their authority. No such binding directions have been issued so far.
The Federal Court is presided by Chief Justice Allan Lutfy. There are 33 Federal Court judges and five Prothonotaries in the Federal Court. There is currently one position for prothonotary that is vacant. In 2005, there were 9,731 proceedings instituted in the CAS Federal Court registry of which approximately 6,000 were refugee cases. During that year, 6,939 cases were determined by the Federal Court in the refugee area. These decisions were in the context of applications for judicial review, which process is described in the following section.
Immigration and refugee matters fall under the statutory jurisdiction of the Federal Court, which can hear applications to review decisions made by the Immigration and Refugee Board, Citizenship and Immigration Canada and the Canada Border Services Agency pursuant to the Federal Courts Act and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. Section 18 of the Federal Courts Act gives the Federal Court exclusive judicial review jurisdiction over certain administrative tribunals.
The Immigration and Refugee Board, being a federal board, commission or tribunal, falls within the general review powers of the Federal Court. In most cases, it is necessary to obtain leave by a judge of the Federal Court under section 72(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to commence an application for judicial review in the Federal Court.
Upon leave for judicial review being granted, the six grounds of review of a decision of a board, commission or tribunal by the Federal Court are found in section 18.1(4) of the Federal Courts Act.
I believe that you have a copy of the text. I will not read aloud each one of the six grounds for review, unless you wish that I do so.
On the application for leave for judicial review, there is a step-by-step process in the immigration and refugee context.
The applicant files an application for leave and for judicial review and serves certified copies on the respondent within 15 days of notification of the tribunal decision. The applicant pays a $50 filing fee, as set out in the federal immigration rules. The applicant must also file proof of service within 10 days of service.
The respondent files a notice of appearance and proof of service within 10 days from the service of the application. If required, the Federal Court registry will send a request to the tribunal for written reasons, or a notice that none exists.
The applicant must prepare and file a record, with proof of service, within 30 days of instituting the proceeding, or 30 days from receipt of the tribunal's reasons. The respondent then has 30 days to file the affidavit and memorandum of argument, together with proof of service. The applicant may file a reply memorandum within 10 days of service of the respondent's memorandum.
The application for leave is then considered without personal appearance of the parties to the proceeding. If leave is refused there's no appeal, and that concludes the case and closes the file.
Should the applicant be granted leave for judicial review, the next step in the process is moving from the application-for-leave stage to the process of judicial review.
I will briefly summarize the judicial review procedure.
If leave for judicial review is granted, a Federal Court order is issued, setting out details and time limits for the filing of further material, together with the date, time and place set for the hearing of the judicial review application.
The Federal Court registry sends the Federal Court order granting leave to the tribunal. The tribunal prepares a record and sends certified copies to the parties as well as to the Clerk of the Federal Court Registry.
The matter is heard and a decision is rendered by the Federal Court.
Should an error under one of the six grounds for review be found to have been made by the lower level tribunal, the tribunal decision is overturned by the Federal Court and the original decision is sent back to the tribunal for reconsideration.
The Federal Court judge rendering a decision of an immigration judicial review, may certify a question for appeal to the Federal Court of Appeal.
For a question to be certified, it must be “a serious question of general importance” and must invite the Court of Appeal to deal with the specific decision under appeal.
Should a question be certified from the Federal Court judicial review decision, the next step in the process is moving from the “judicial review” stage of the process to the “appeal” stage of the process.
I'll briefly explain the process before the Federal Court of Appeal.
An appeal to the Federal Court of Appeal must be filed within 30 days after the pronouncement of the Federal Court judgment under appeal.
The Court of Appeal is not restricted to answering the certified question. All issues raised in the appeal may be considered by the Court of Appeal.
It is, naturally, an opportunity to file an application for leave to the Supreme Court of Canada from the Federal Court of Appeal. However, I won't go into that process.
I stated earlier that 6,939 refugee cases were determined by the Federal Court in 2005. Of these cases, application for leave or judicial review were granted in 1,034 files.
That concludes my opening remarks.
We are both available for questions.