Canadian Council for Refugees
For immediate release
10 May 2019
Supreme Court confirms right to challenge unlawful immigration detention through habeas corpus
The Canadian Council for Refugees welcomes the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in the Chhina case which confirms that immigration detainees may challenge the lawfulness of their detention through habeas corpus.
The Court’s decision strengthens protection in Canada of the fundamental right to liberty. Detention often has devastating impacts, even when it is only for a short period, particularly for children, refugee claimants, trafficked persons and individuals suffering from mental health issues.
The CCR was an intervener in this case, arguing that people detained under the immigration legislation do not always receive a fair hearing by an impartial decision-maker. This fact is illustrated by a recent external audit of detention reviews at the Immigration and Refugee Board. The Supreme Court cited the audit and reached a similar conclusion about the gaps in protections available to detainees under immigration legislation.
The CCR was represented in this case by Erica Olmstead, Peter Edelmann and Molly Joeck.
The CCR’s factum is available here.
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Milen Minchev, Communication Coordinator, 514-277-7223, ext.1, 514-602-2098 (cell), firstname.lastname@example.org