Immigration

Seligman: OCA decision in Chaudhary ‘very significant’

The Ontario Court of Appeal’s recent ruling that will allow immigration detainees to apply to the Superior Court of Justice for habeas corpus to challenge their incarceration is “very significant,” Toronto immigration lawyer Robin Seligman tells Law Times.

The appeal court’s decision in Chaudhary v. Canada (Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness) provides a new remedy to fight detention and is being lauded by immigration lawyers, the legal publication reports.

Seligman tells Law Times the decision is “very significant” and that the Superior Court will be an excellent option for those facing long-term detention.

“Traditionally, these cases keep getting bumped back to the Federal Court and many times the remedy is not there,” she says in the article. “Once somebody has been refused [release from detention], it just keeps getting revisited by different board members and they just rely on the previous decisions, so it seems like wasted effort.”

Seligman, a certified specialist in citizenship and immigration law, says the previous system put great onus on detainees to prove their circumstances had changed since the previous review and, in most cases, the longer the time served, the harder it was to win release.

“In reality, that’s how it works. It becomes almost impossible to get people released. The only place for review was the Federal Court, and that is not necessarily a satisfactory remedy and it takes time and money,” she tells Law Times. “But the Court of Appeal of Ontario is very used to hearing detention cases and has proper experience and expertise in that area.”

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