February 13, 2024
Beware the time limit to apply for judicial review of an administrative decision.
The Judicial Review Procedures Act provides that “an application for judicial review shall be made no later than 30 days after the date the decision or matter for which judicial review is being sought was made or occurred”’.
Courts are conscious of the need to give the time limit real meaning. If extensions are granted too easily, no one would have reason to apply on time.
Unlike time limits to bring a claim in court, this time limit may be extended if the court “is satisfied that there are apparent grounds for relief and that no substantial prejudice or hardship will result to any person affected by reason of the delay.”
Both conditions must be met to obtain an extension.
This test is considered in Jonker v. Township of West Lincoln,. A councilor sought judicial review of a report and recommendation from an Integrity Commissioner and the resulting decision by the municipal council. The original application was brought 31 days after council’s decision. Council learned of an attempt to ament the claim 70 days after its decision. A further amendment was sought to add the Integrity Commissioner as a party 137 days after council’s decision.
An Integrity Commissioner does not impose penalties- they merely recommend to council.
In addition to the JRPA, the Rules of Civil Procedure apply. Those Rules favour the granting of amendment but are sensitive to time limits. In particular:
- an additional party will not necessarily be added out of time, though.
- the test to correct a misnaming of a party is more generous.
- though the court “shall” grant leave to ament, the expiration of a time limit may be prejudice to the other party, in which case the amendment may be refused.
- the expiration of time limits is something judges take especially seriously where time limits are absolute.
But what about that power to extend under the JPRA?
The applicant had no reasonable explanation for the significant delay. In addition, the applicant lacked a reasonable claim against the Commissioner. This meant that the additional claims against the Commissioner could not proceed.
Since the time limit against the Township was only missed by one day, and the applicant had, withing the 30 days, advised the Township of his intention to apply, that delay was excused, and that claim could proceed.
- Time limits matter
- No one needs an argument about being “out of time”.
- Knowing about time limits is part of a lawyer’s job.
- Knowing about when and how time limits may be extended is part of the advocacy skills of a lawyer.
- That is just one more reason to consult a lawyer about municipal or other administrative decisions that negatively impact you.
WHAT WEILERS LLP CAN DO TO HELP YOU
We know administrative law. We know municipal law. We know about judicial reviews. Part of our “proud tradition” is continuing the 75-year history of Weilers lawyers excelling in these areas.
We are used to analyzing complex fact situations and making recommendations to clients about the most cost-effective pathway to the best legal result. We work with clients of all sorts, from multinationals to individuals.
When you are confronted by an adverse administrative decision that you think is “just wrong”, or a tribunal or court proceeding has already been started, we would be happy if you give us a call to discuss whether Weilers LLP are the right lawyers for you.