Judicial Review by the Federal Court

The Facts

  • If applicants have exhausted all their redress options at the Veterans Review and Appeal Board (VRAB) and remain dissatisfied, they have the right to apply to the Federal Court of Canada for a judicial review of the decision.
  • In 2020-21, two applicants requested a judicial review. This represents about 0.2% of the VRAB decisions eligible to be reviewed by the Federal Court.
  • The Federal Court is looking at whether the Board made a reasonable decision based on the evidence before it and whether it properly performed its function in making the decision.
  • For example, the Court may decide that the Board has not addressed relevant evidence in its decision or has not provided the applicant with clear reasons about how it has addressed certain pieces of evidence.
  • It may also decide that the Board has rendered a reasonable decision and dismiss the application for judicial review.
  • If the Court rules that the Board made an error in the way it handled a case, it will set aside the decision and ask the Board to rehear the case with specific directions (e.g. that it address a certain piece of evidence or that the new hearing be conducted by a different panel of members).
  • The Board is then obliged to rehear the case in accordance with the Federal Court’s directions.
  • As for all cases, Board members will consider the evidence put forward by the Veteran and his/her representative and determine whether it fulfills the legislative requirements. In some cases, the Board will come to the same conclusion and be unable to vary the previous decision.
  • In 2020-21, the Federal Court issued three decisions (pending from applications made in previous years). Of these, the Court asked the Board to rehear one application and decided to dismiss two applications.
  • The Federal Court has provided it with guidance through approximately 200 judicial review decisions. The Board monitors the outcomes of applications for judicial review to ensure that any guidance given by the Court is reflected in its decisions and operations.

Click here to access decisions of the Federal Court.