Federal Court and international human rights obligations

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Resolution number: 
12
June 1997
Whereas: 
  1. The Federal Court of Canada has been extremely reticent to apply the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and international human rights obligations in the judicial review process for refugee claimants and non-residents;
  2. Immigration and refugee practitioners are frustrated with the negative attitude of the Federal Court to refugee and immigration issues;
  3. The Federal Court leave requirements and the process for certification for appeal to the Federal Court of Appeal afford less access to the Court by refugee claimants and immigrants than the average Canadian has to appeal a conviction for a traffic ticket;
  4. The news media and notes produced before the Supreme Court of Canada have shown that there have been improper contacts between the Ministry of Justice and the Federal Court and there are currently inquiries by the Canadian Judicial Council and the Ministry of Justice;
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR:

  1. Demand that the independence of the Federal Court be reaffirmed and that, more particularly, contacts between the government and its quasi-judicial bodies and the Federal Court without the presence of the opposing parties or non-governmental organizations cease immediately and that the current inquiries be expanded to include such contacts;
  2. Express its concern to the Minister of Justice that the Federal Court is not consistently applying the Charter and our international human rights obligations and that it is overly restrictive in its application of judicial review in its handling of immigration and refugee matters and ask the Minister of Justice to commission an independent study on the effectiveness of the judicial review remedy;
  3. Ask that the federal government appoint judges to the Federal Court who have an immigration and refugee law background, particularly those who are members of the immigration bar.
Working Group: 
Inland Protection