Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration) v Khosa

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Canada (Citizenship and Immigration) v. Khosa
Supreme Court of Canada
Hearing: March 20, 2008
Judgment: March 6, 2009
Full case name Minister of Citizenship and Immigration v. Sukhvir Singh Khosa
Citations 2009 SCC 12, [2009] 1 SCR 339
Docket No. 31952
Prior history Judgment for Khosa in the Federal Court of Appeal.
Ruling Appeal allowed.
  1. Courts should give a measure of deference to administrative tribunal decisions.
  2. Statutorily defined grounds of review are not necessarily the same as the standard of review.
  3. "Reasonableness" is the standard of review to be applied to reviewing decisions of the Immigration Appeal Division of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada.
Court Membership
Chief Justice: Beverley McLachlin
Puisne Justices: Michel Bastarache, Ian Binnie, Louis LeBel, Marie Deschamps, Morris Fish, Rosalie Abella, Louise Charron, Marshall Rothstein
Reasons given
Majority Binnie J., joined by McLachlin C.J. and LeBel, Abella and Charron JJ.
Concurrence Rothstein J.
Concurrence Deschamps J.
Dissent Fish J.
Bastarache J. took no part in the consideration or decision of the case.

Canada (Citizenship and Immigration) v. Khosa, 2009 SCC 12, is a leading Supreme Court of Canada decision in Canadian administrative law.


Khosa was a citizen of India who immigrated to Canada with his family in 1996 at the age of 14. He was found guilty in 2002 of criminal negligence causing death and sentenced to a conditional sentence of two years less a day. A removal order was issued for him to return to India.

Judicial History[edit]

Khosa appealed the order to the Immigration Appeal Division (IAD) of the Immigration and Refugee Board. The majority of the IAD denied Khosa "special relief" on humanitarian and compassionate grounds. On appeal, the Federal Court reviewed the assessment of the IAD and found it to be reasonable. That decision was then appealed to the Federal Court of Appeal which then found that the decision had not been reasonable when they denied relief and set the decision aside.

Opinion of the court[edit]

Binnie J. wrote for the majority, who found that s. 18.1 of the Federal Courts Act set out the threshold grounds which permit but do not require the court to grant relief when conducting judicial review. Binnie J. held that "whether or not the court should exercise its discretion in favour of the application will depend on the court's appreciation of the respective roles of the courts and the administration as well as the "circumstances in each case".[1]

Applying the reasonableness standard from Dunsmuir v. New Brunswick, Binnie J. held that courts should be deferential to the IAD decisions and should not substitute its own findings. In the result, he found that the IAD decision was reasonable and restored its order.

Dissenting opinion[edit]

Fish J. dissented, agreeing with the Court of Appeal that the decision was unreasonable on account of the IAD's emphasis on the specific fact that Khosa denied having engaged in street-racing,[2] and would have granted a re-hearing in the IAD, concluding, "I agree that decisions of the IAD are entitled to deference. In my respectful view, however, deference ends where unreasonableness begins."[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 2009 SCC 12 at para 31.
  2. ^ Ibid at para 147.
  3. ^ Ibid at para 160.

External links[edit]