Federal Court

Administrative Law

Language difficulties went to procedural fairness

Ruling on admissibility of evidence. Two Canadian citizens were found to have allowed two foreign nationals to use their passports and to have provided false information in support of replacement applications. Citizens’ passports were revoked for five years. Citizens commenced application for judicial review. Citizens filed affidavit evidence outlining their difficulty with English and lack of understanding of statements prepared on their behalf during investigation. Affidavit evidence also noted their son could have stolen passports and that they did not know foreign nationals who were caught with their passports. Citizens wished to cross-examine investigators prior to hearing. Evidence admissible in part. Only parts of affidavits relating to citizens’ language difficulties were admissible. Language difficulties went to procedural fairness, which was type of issue for which evidence could be filed on judicial review. Finding actual breach of procedural fairness was not prerequisite to considering this evidence. Evidence relating to son and foreign nationals went to merits of decision and so was not admissible. This evidence could have been placed before adjudicator. Admitting this evidence at this stage would have been completely inimical to judicial review process. There was no basis for allowing cross-examination of investigators. Slaeman v. Canada (Attorney General) (May 25, 2012, F.C., Gleason J., File No. T-1337-11) 218 A.C.W.S. (3d) 253 (27 pp.).

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