deference | Page 2


The “Common Objective” of Courts and Administrators: Correctly Applying the Principles of Statutory Interpretation?

How should we describe what administrative decision-makers do when they interpret statutory provisions? In my view, they are making/interpreting/doing “law”, even if it is infused with policy considerations in a way that the judicial function is (arguably) not. Does it follow that they should perform this “law” function in the same way that courts do? […] Read more


Sorting out Refugee Appeals

Canadian decisions on internal appellate review are coming thick and fast. Another one arrived last week, with some media fanfare: Huruglica v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2014 FC 799. Here, Phelan J. gave the Refugee Appeal Division a very broad role indeed. Rebuking the Division for applying judicial review standards to an internal appeal, he […] Read more


The Scope and Meaning of Reasonableness Review

Questions continue to abound about the standard of review of administrative action in Canada. For something apparently simplified in Dunsmuir v. New Brunswick and subsequent cases, it provokes a great many questions. The key question now, in light of the “triumph” of reasonableness, is the scope and meaning of reasonableness review. To what does the […] Read more


Deference Within Agencies?

Once more unto the ‘internal standard of review’ breach. Do the principles regulating judicial review by courts of administrative decision-makers apply when there is an appeal within an agency, and if so, to what extent? I tackled this question last year in the context of the Refugee Appeal Division. Now, the Federal Court has pronounced […] Read more


Deference Across the Public-Private Divide

Public lawyers may sometimes tend to think that deference is a phenomenon unique to cases involving judicial review of government action. A moment’s reflection should be enough to dispel that notion. For example, judges in civil trials regularly defer to expert witnesses (negligence being a particular case in point) and boards of directors; and appellate […] Read more