Legal Complexities | What Differentiates An Appeal from A Judicial Review in Canada?

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Appeal and Judicial Review in Canada

Legal procedures can be hard to understand, especially for those unfamiliar or who need to learn about the laws. Appeal and judicial review in Canada are two ways that people sometimes need to correct. Both terms require questioning decisions made by courts or any administrative body, but they are not the same and are done differently. In this blog, let us figure out these complicated law issues and what differentiates appeals and judicial review in Canada.

What is an Appeal?


Suppose you have just received a judgment from a court and think there needs to be a correction in the decision-making process or interpretation of the law. This is where Appeals help. An appeal is a mechanism for parties dissatisfied with a court’s decision to seek a review by a higher court. Appeal mainly focuses on errors of law or legal procedure rather than re-evaluating the facts of that case.

How do Appeals Work?

Filing the Appeal: The process starts with the part filling a notice of appeal within a specified time and outlining the grounds for the appeal.

Appellate Court Review: Once you have filled out a notice of appeal, the appellate court will review the case record, which includes the proceedings of the trial court, legal arguments, and evidence presented.

Oral Arguments: Parties can sometimes present oral arguments before the appellate court, highlighting the alleged mistakes and advocating for different outcomes.

Decision: The appellate court will then decide, either affirming, reversing, or modifying the lower court judgment based on legal errors.

What is a Judicial Review?

Judicial Review

On the other hand, judicial review provides a means to challenge decisions made by administrative bodies, not courts. These bodies, such as government agencies or professional regulatory boards, make decisions affecting individual rights, privileges, or interests.

You can seek judicial review if you feel the decision is unfair or beyond the decision-maker’s authority.

How Does Judicial Review Work?

Grounds for Review: If you seek a judicial review, you must establish that the decision is flawed on one or more grounds, like legality or procedural fairness.

Application for Review: First, you must fill out an application for judicial review in court, dictating the specific grounds and arguments challenging the situation.

Court Review: The court will then examine how the administrative body made its decision and see if it followed proper processes and acted within its legal power.

Remedies: If the court thinks the case is valid, it can overturn the decision, send it back to the administrative body to be looked at again, or do something right.

Differences That Matter

Nature of Decision: Appeals focus on errors of law or legal procedure made by courts, while judicial reviews scrutinize decisions made by administrative bodies for legality and procedural fairness.

Decision-Makers: Appeals are heard by higher courts, whereas judicial reviews are conducted by courts reviewing decisions made by administrative bodies.

Review Scope: When someone appeals, the whole case record is usually looked over again. However, when someone goes to court, they only look at how the official body made its decision instead of the facts of the case again.

Remedies: The remedies available in appeals may include affirming, reversing, or modifying the lower court’s judgment, while judicial reviews may result in quashing the decision, ordering a reconsideration, or providing other appropriate remedies.

Final Thoughts

Appeal and Judicial Review in Canada

It’s not easy to differentiate between an appeal and a judicial review in Canada. Whether you want to appeal a court or an administrative decision, learning the right way to do it can make a big difference in how your case turns out. If you understand how these legal systems work, you can successfully stand up for your rights and demand justice in Canada.

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