We have helped hundreds of applicants and their families when their cases and their lives were seemingly stalled for years awaiting a decision on a permanent or temporary visa application. The solution was Mandamus.
A writ of mandamus or simply mandamus, which means “we
command” in Latin, is the name of one of the prerogative writs in the
common law, and is issued by a superior court to compel a lower court or
a government officer to perform mandatory or purely ministerial duties
Mandamus is a judicial remedy which is in the form of an order from a
superior court to any government, subordinate court, corporation or
public authority to do or forbear from doing some specific act which
that body is obliged under law to do or refrain from doing, as the case
may be, and which is in the nature of public duty and in certain cases
of a statutory duty. It cannot be issued to compel an authority to do
something against statutory provision.
The applicant pleading for a writ of mandamus to be enforced must
demonstrate that s/he has a legal right to compel the respondent to do
or refrain from doing the specific act. The duty sought to be enforced
must have two qualities:
It must be a duty of public nature; and
The duty must be imperative and should not be discretionary.
For the court to issue a writ a mandamus, a number of conditions must be satisfied.
There must be a public legal duty to act.
The duty must be owed to the applicant.
There is a clear right to the performance of that duty, in particular:
The applicant has satisfied all conditions precedent giving rise to the duty;
a prior demand for performance of the duty; (ii) a reasonable time to comply with the demand unless refused outright; and
a subsequent refusal which can be either expressed or implied, e.g. unreasonable delay.
No other adequate remedy is available to the applicant.
The order sought will be of some practical value or effect.
The Court in the exercise of discretion finds no equitable bar to the relief sought.
On a “balance of convenience” an order in the nature of mandamus should issue.
When contemplating whether to commence a mandamus application,
counsel should make reference to the processing times listed on the CIC
website. Unreasonable delay can only be determined in comparison to
average processing times. In submissions, counsel should focus on the
normal processing times and how much the processing time in question has
exceeded the average, what the applicant has done to ensure that
his/her application is complete and well documented, and reasons why the
applicant feels that the officer’s explanation for the delay is
In this respect, the Courts in most cases have refused to accept
departmental backlogs, or staff shortages as reasonable explanations,
nor do they tend to look to the system as a whole. Rather, each case is
assessed on its own facts. The question often arises as to whether a
background or security check constitutes a justifiable explanation for
the delay. As with the other prongs of the test, this is a determination
which can only be made with reference to the specific facts of the
case. Counsel must tailor the arguments to the facts of the case at
hand, with particular attention paid to what the applicant has been
doing to move his case along, and what the respondent has failed to do
to perform their duty.
No Other Adequate Remedy is Available to the Applicant
In the immigration context, this prong of the test is easily
satisfied – an officer is the only person in a position to grant the
remedy that the applicant is requesting – namely, the issuance of a visa
or other immigration document.
The Order Sought will be of Some Practical Value or Effect
Again, this is rarely an issue in a mandamus application in the
immigration context. Generally speaking, given that the order will
compel the officer to process the application in question within a given
time frame, the practical effect of the order is obvious.
In the Exercise of Discretion there is No Equitable Bar to the Relief Sought.
Under this prong of the test, the Court is looking to determine if
the applicant has been responsible for the delay and/or has compromised
their cause in any other way. The applicant must come to the Court “with
clean hands”, in order to satisfy the Court that there is no equitable
bar to an order of mandamus. This however does not mean an applicant as
in the case at bar with a criminal history cannot seek relief. To the
contrary an applicant with a criminal history that has sought relief on
the basis of section 24 of the IRPA for example has a right to have that
application decided in a reasonable period of time.
Balance of Convenience
Mandamus requires the
Applicant to show that the balance of convenience favours the Applicant.
This last prong of the test is closely related to the “clean hands”
question discussed above. This issue relates to the prejudice that the
applicant suffers as a result of the delay. Mandamus remains a very
powerful option for applicants.
If you have any questions about your case please contact us to discuss what may be involved in seeking a mandamus remedy.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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!
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
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!
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.
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.