By definition and in the context of immigration, a writ of mandamus is “a judicial remedy that asks the Federal Court to order the IRCC to issue a decision within a certain period of time.”
The writ of mandamus is for those who have been waiting for an unreasonable period of time.
However, it’s not a way to jump the queue and have your application reviewed in record time.
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Usually, a delay is unreasonable if IRCC is taking significantly longer than the average processing time listed on their website or out of service standards.
Therefore, the IRCC is legally obligated to provide a response within a given amount of time.
How Can You Apply For A Writ Of Mandamus?
A writ of mandamus must be filed directly with the Federal Court. However, not just anyone will have their application approved.
In order to have a writ of mandamus issued, you have to meet a few different criteria.
Ultimately, it boils down to whether you’ve been waiting an unreasonable amount of time for the IRCC to process your application.
The definition of ‘an unreasonable amount of time’ is all relative to the current processing times outlined on the IRCC’s website.
The IRCC has the right to respond to a mandamus application in court.
The Department of Justice is the lawyer for IRCC and may occasionally ask IRCC to settle the case, and issue a decision themselves, to avoid having to proceed to a hearing at the Court.
A General Example
For example, Spousal sponsorship applications inside Canada have a listed processing time of 12 months.
The IRCC website says that “they are committed to processing the most complete applications within this time frame.”
If your application is complete and you are never contacted by IRCC for additional information or documents, but are still waiting for a decision on your application and it’s significantly past the processing service standards of 12 months.
Then you can file a writ of mandamus, and if the Federal Court agrees to your writ, and finds the delay in processing unreasonable, then they can order the IRCC to provide a decision on your application within a certain prescribed time period. e.g., within 30 days.