Specialists in Immigration Litigation & Inadmissability
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Federal Court

Has your Canadian immigration application or appeal been refused? Do you want to challenge the decision to the Federal Court of Canada
At Bellissimo Law Group PC we can help!

We represent clients at each stage of the litigation (sometimes referred to as the “appeal” at the Immigration and Refugee Board level)  including seeking leave and judicial review at the Federal Court and further steps in rare cases to the  Federal Court of Appeal, and the Supreme Court of Canada.

At Bellissimo Law Group PC, we pride ourselves on being one of the leading law firms that deal with refusals, including family class, deportations, residency cases, citizenship and refugee/protected person matters. In this section, we set out some basic considerations at the Federal Court.  Most recently we were part of the litigation that struck down portions of the Citizenship Act as unconstitutional.   

When can I go to the Federal Court?

Section 18.1 of the Federal Courts Act provides the authority to bring an Application for Judicial Review to the Federal Court by anyone who has been directly affected by the matter for which relief is being sought at the Federal Court, including relief from a decision made under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. The Federal Court may grant relief from a decision in a variety of circumstances, including on the basis that the federal board, commission or other tribunal erred in law or fact (or both) in making the decision, and/or that there was a breach of procedural fairness. 

This section also outlines time limits (be aware that time limits are amended in IRPA proceedings, as explained below), the powers of the Federal Court, and on what grounds an application can be brought. For reference, time limits to file the “Notice of Application” must be within 15 days of receipt of the refusal for matters arising in Canada, or within 60 days for matters arising outside of Canada.

What are the steps for filing at the Federal Court?

The Notice of Application

The filing of a notice of Application for leave commences review proceedings (the Application for Leave). The notice of application must be served on the Respondent (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration as one example) and then re-filed with the Court Registry after service. The following information is required to complete the notice of application:

  1. The name of the Applicant;
  2. The name of the tribunal that made the decision;
  3. The location of the tribunal.  Exact addresses are not necessary and the address can be described as “the Canadian Embassy in China” or the “Canadian High Commission in New Delhi” for example;
  4. The date that the decision was made. This will usually be the date that the refusal letter is signed;
  5. The date that the decision was communicated to the applicant. The Federal Court Act provides that where a decision is sent by ordinary mail, it is deemed to have been received on the 10th day after it was mailed. It is important to advise clients to keep the envelopes or the emails in which the decision arrives because there can be a delay between the date that the letter of refusal was signed and the date that it was mailed;
  6. The applicant’s visa office file number; and
  7. The grounds upon which the Applicant is seeking to have the decision set aside.

After a notice of application is filed and served upon the Respondent, the Respondent has 10 days in which to serve and file an Appearance. There is no special significance to this document other than the fact that if it is not served and filed on time, the Respondent has lost its right to participate in the proceedings or to be notified of further stages of the process


When a notice of application has been filed, the Applicant has 30 days in which to serve and file an affidavit (or affidavits) in support of the application. The Respondent then has 30 days in which to serve and file their affidavit evidence.

The Respondent’s affidavit materials usually consist of an affidavit from the officer or someone in the office that has knowledge of the file. The Applicant’s affidavit must be based on actual knowledge of the Applicant. Although affidavits that are used in ancillary proceedings (such as applications for extensions of time) can be based upon belief, this is not true in affidavits in support of original actions. If an affidavit is based upon hearsay or belief (as opposed to knowledge), the Respondent can, and often does, bring a motion to have the affidavit struck out. Still, there is nothing wrong with statements such as “I believe that I was dealt with unfairly.” Although technically incorrect, it helps define what the issues are in the application for judicial review.

The affidavit must also give details as to the basis of the attack on the decision. If it does not, the Respondent can bring a motion to have the proceedings struck out as a result of not disclosing a cause of action. The more detailed the evidence, the more chance the application will have of success.

Relevant documents can and should be attached to the affidavit as exhibits. More than one affidavit can be filed. If someone other than the applicant has relevant information concerning the matter (such as a previous representative or a family member) then additional affidavits should be filed.

Application Record

Within 30 days (can be as much as 40) of receiving the Reasons the applicant must perfect and file an application record. An application record consists of the following:

  1. a table of contents;
  2. a copy of the Notice of Application;
  3. copies of the affidavit or affidavits;
  4. a copy of the decision of the visa officer;
  5. copies of the contents of the file of the visa officer which include all documentation that was before the visa officer when the decision was made;
  6. a memorandum of legal points to be argued and a list of legal cases or authorities that are being relied upon.

After the application record has been served and filed with the Court, the Respondent has 30 days in which to file their application record. Ten days after the latter filing, the Applicant may file a Memorandum of Reply.

Granting of Leave

If leave to appeal is granted, the Court produces the Certified Tribunal Record and the Applicant and Respondent have the option of filing a Further Affidavit and Further Memorandum. The Court also sets the matter down within 90 days of granting leave.

The Further Affidavit and Further Memorandum are critical, as the legal tests for obtaining leave versus successfully overturning a decision on judicial review are different. Both the Applicant and Respondent are also given a time period in which to cross-examine the deponent of the affidavit. After the Respondent’s affidavits are filed, the Applicant has 20 days in which to complete any cross-examinations. The entire court proceeding usually takes between 6 months to a year to conclude.

How can we help?

We have significant experience and have been successful at all levels of “immigration related” courts and tribunals in Canada. We can assist applicants hoping to challenge a negative decision by:

  • Reviewing the immigration file, the law, including all relevant legislation and case law;
  • Applying for ATIPS;
  • Collecting all relevant materials related to the client’s immigration history and assessing chances of a successful application at the Federal Court;
  • Preparing case strategy;
  • Pursuit of all other reasonable and appropriate appeal remedies and all work incidental thereto, including the filing a notice of application, supporting affidavits, to cross-examine the visa officer overseas by telephone, collection of case law and evidence to support the case;
  • Composing legal and factual arguments;
  • Preparing books of argument, evidence and case law.
  • Other unexpected circumstances are motions. For example, if the visa officer on cross examination promises a copy of a document but then does not produce a copy or is taking too long the Applicant would bring a motion at the Federal Court to seek an order to have the officer produce the document.

Please contact Bellissimo Law Group PC if you require assistance at the Federal Court of Canada.

Contact Us

What Our Clients Are Saying
Bellissimo Law has been the greatest help we could have asked for our journey. Our case needed an appeal which was very well organized, documented and presented to the authorities. We received a positive decision on the case all because of the expertise of Mr. Bellissimo and team. Keely and John are great at responding all smart and stupid questions and the team is very prompt to answer emails. They have the entire process streamlined, right from extension to evidences which makes our job easier. We got the quotes from some of the other law firms too who are all good and had lower charges. We chose Bellisimo because they are the best and in the long term a few extra bucks won't matter but the results will. Highly recommended.
Vaibhav Chaturvedi
Vaibhav Chaturvedi
16:51 06 May 19
Our immigration process was handled by Bellissimo Law Group. The first consultation with Mr Bellissimo was very insightful. Ms Keely Anderson was particularly very helpful. She guided us through the process. I will definitely recommend this law firm. They know what they are doing. Thanks once again for guiding us through the process.
Dare Sokoya
Dare Sokoya
19:27 28 Mar 19
I greatly recommend Bellissimo Law Group. After a long time waiting, I will finally be reunited with my son here in Canada. We are very grateful for all the great, very professional services that they have done for my case. My personal thanks to Kelly Anderson and her group. More power to all of you!
michele medalla
michele medalla
23:36 04 Mar 19
I wish I’d found Bellissimo Law 9 years ago before taking the advice of a so called Immigration Consultant who led our family to a very costly near disaster in our quest to immigrate to join our family in Canada. Years later, in desperation, at a Procedural Fairness Letter stage internet research seemed to suggest Bellissimo Law may be the company to deal with our problem. From the first consultation with Bellissimo Law their extremely thorough, very focused telephone interview personified professionalism and reassurance. All subsequent dealings with any member of the team were of the same high standard. It was clear to us that Mario Bellissimo leads from the front and that his staff not only respect him but that they are trained to match his standards and caring approach. I believe it is very important to mention that although they seem expensive, when our particular problem resolved more quickly and easily than anticipated they refunded the money which had not yet been used. Thanks particularly to Keely, our lead person, and to all at Bellissimo. I will always, highly recommend Bellissimo Law. Keep up the good work. In less than 6 months all our worries are over. We are now permanent residents.
Patricia Forsythe
Patricia Forsythe
23:33 22 Mar 19
Very professional and very informative on the phone. Good to see that it is not all about money and more about relationship building. Highly recommended. Thank you!
Atabak Amirabrahimi
Atabak Amirabrahimi
17:19 16 Apr 19
Great service and successfully guided us through the immigration and citizenship processes. Terrific attention to detail, and created a terrific case for our application, which was successfully approved. Attached is a picture with the judge. A wonderful day. So proud to be a Canadian!
Carlos Berber
Carlos Berber
15:45 26 May 19
Bellísimo law group made a dream a reality. They help me throughout the entire process of becoming a Canadian permanent resident. Great service. I will definitely use their services again in the future. Highly recommended
Jose Rendon
Jose Rendon
01:01 29 May 19
We had a fantastic experience with Bellissimo Law Group. From Mr. Bellissimo to the entire staff, in particular Viola Gniadek, were professional, diligent, knowledgeable and available at all times. We thank the entire group for a successful resolution for my friend Catherine. I would highly recommend the firm for any and all of your immigration needs. Thank you all for a job well done!
Liliana Pelech
Liliana Pelech
14:53 01 Jun 19
I sponsored my parents in 2007 and I was refused in 2013 based on medical inadmissibility of my mentally challenged brother. I found Late Mr. Rotenberg as my original lawyer who passed away during the process. I was very disappointed as I was counting on his expertise to help me with my situation. Mr. Bellissimo was God send for me to help me with my case. I am very thankful that he took on my case. His team member Ms. Tamara Thomas worked with me and advised me with regards to the documents that I needed to obtain, they did extensive research on eligibility criteria of various social and health systems. They worked with me on the interview preparation. The time spend working with them was very targeted and very specific to address the Minister's concerns. They ensured there was no further waste in time or any delays. The way they presented my case and helped me win it only a world class Law firm can do that as there were times I was going to lose my hopes. I would totally recommend this law firm to anyone who is going through similar situation as mine with both hands down. Mr. Bellissimo and the team (Ms. Tamara Thomas) you guys are amazing and thank you so much again for reuniting me with my family in my beautiful dream country Canada.
Irshad Khan
Irshad Khan
17:46 04 Jun 19
They’re very professional and the advice was given 100% accurate. The lawyer Justin Toh didn’t rush at all. He took the time to answer all our questions in details. I’m very happy with their service.
Shah Alam
Shah Alam
21:15 09 Jul 19
Great service! I had a lot of questions prepared and Viola answered each and every one of them articulately and concisely. I definitely recommend Bellissimo!
17:39 30 Jul 19
Hands down i would never done it by myself if it wasn't for Mr. Mario and Ms. Anderson hard work, I was facing deportation and they helped me step by step to get through it to be honest I am very forgetful person and Ms. Anderson always keep me on track and follow up with me making sure i get things done and send to her and they always keep me updated on everything, I am no longer facing such difficulties and i can stay in Canada. i would recommend Bellissiomo Law Group to all friends and Family. thank you again.
Omid Rezaee
Omid Rezaee
16:00 12 Aug 19
Bellissimo Law has been the greatest help we could have asked for our journey. Our case needed an appeal which was very well organized, documented and presented to the authorities. We received a positive decision on the case all because of the expertise of Mr. Bellissimo and team. Keely and John are great at responding all smart and stupid questions and the team is very prompt to answer emails. They have the entire process streamlined, right from extension to evidences which makes our job easier. We got the quotes from some of the other law firms too who are all good and had lower charges. We chose Bellisimo because they are the best and in the long term a few extra bucks won't matter but the results will. Highly recommended.
Vaibhav Chaturvedi
Vaibhav Chaturvedi
16:51 06 May 19
Bellissimo Law Group did a wonderful job. They helped me and my family obtain work permits in Canada. They were responsive, professional, and got the job done in a timely manner with no issues. I would absolutely work with them in the future.
Eric Blomster
Eric Blomster
11:58 30 Aug 19
Bellissimo Law Firm has great lawyers who have handled our immigration case. The staff was very professional. We are very happy with their service.We had to go through a tough ordeal because of misrepresentation earlier and our file was rejected. That is when we assigned this case to Mario Bellissimo. I would happily refer his law firm to any one whose in the same situation as ours or any immigration related matter.I would like to mention a special thanks to Tamara who was in touch with us and kept as posted. Mario had 100% confidence in our case that we will win which was very assuring for me and my family. And we finally got our permanent residency.God bless him and his firm.
mubina fatima
mubina fatima
18:35 15 Sep 19