April 26, 2013

Federal Court Appeal Proceeding

Posted by Mario Bellissimo - Bellissimo Law Group PC

Dear Applicants and Counsel,

As many of you know by now the Federal Court of Canada has dismissed the application for judicial review.  We are very disappointed but want to thank many of you that have taken the time to write in and show your support.

Do We Appeal?

We have taken a few days to closely review the decision and have decided we do intend to seek instructions from our clients to proceed with an appeal. Some clients have already advised us they wish to move forward with the appeal. Clearly Justice Rennie certified questions for appeal, which he did not have to do, so that the Federal Court of Appeal could review his findings and the very serious issues this case entails.  The litigation is unprecedented and affects hundreds of thousands of people and therefore warrants further consideration by a three judge panel at the Court of Appeal.

What This Means for Applicants

At present, it appears that the Federal Government intends to continue with its plan to eliminate pre-February 28th, 2008 files. As part of this process, government processing fees will be returned to applicants and this will continue.  Should an appeal be successful processing of files would resume and/or leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada is a possibility.

Next Step 

We must file the appeal within thirty days of Justice Rennie’s decision. Appeals are usually heard at the Federal Court of Appeal within 8-9 months.  Given the importance of this case, the fundamental issues that remain unsettled, the number of lives this profoundly affects, we are prepared to move forward with this appeal and not charge you additional legal fees. Given the thousands of dollars this appeal would cost we would appreciate, without obligation on your part, a $150.00 contribution per main applicant. Payment can be made by cash/debit card, e-transfer, direct deposit at any TD bank, wire transfer, certified cheque, money order, bank draft, or credit card by calling into our office to process your credit card payment by telephone. You may contact Parminder Kaur in our Accounting Department at pk@bellissimolawgroup.com and discuss your preferred payment method.

You will have to communicate your intention to join the appeal and sign a new retainer agreement by Friday May 10th, 2013.

Court Costs

There always remains the possibility the Federal Court and/or Federal Court of Appeal can award costs against the applicants, although the likelihood of this is low considering the public interest in Constitutional litigation.  Justice Rennie has asked for submissions on costs within twenty days of his decision.

Can I Join the Appeal?

No, only those clients who filed an application for leave at the Federal Court will be permitted to be part of the proceeding before the Federal Court of Appeal.

What if I Do Not Want to Appeal? 

There is no obligation that you join the appeal and should the law be struck down you may still benefit.  However, we cannot take any more steps on your behalf and/or include you in any potential settlements should those arise. We will close your file.

Closing Remarks 

We appreciate this has been a very long and frustrating journey, but it is one that has not necessarily concluded.  We remain committed to this process and will continue to work diligently on your behalf.  We await your instructions.

Sincerely Yours,

Mario D. Bellissimo