Can decisions of the Ontario Parole Board be appealed?
- Kate Mitchell
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The Ontario Parole Board makes decisions about parole and (in some cases) temporary absences for prisoners serving sentences of less than 2 years.
Prisoners who disagree with a decision of the Board can write to the Chair of the Board for reconsideration. The Chair can either grant a review hearing or uphold the original decision. A new hearing may be granted if the hearing was unfair, there was an error in the decision, the prisoner has new information, or there is some other reason for the Chair to conclude it is appropriate to hold a new hearing.
Prisoners can also seek judicial review of a decision of the Board. A judicial review application would be brought in the Divisional Court (in some urgent cases it can possibly be brought in the Superior Court of Justice). This is in contrast to decisions of the Parole Board of Canada (for prisoners serving 2+ years), which are brought in the Federal Court.
Before a judicial review application can be granted, it may be necessary to exhaust the internal review procedure (i.e. by writing to the Chair). Judicial review applications generally need to be brought within a certain period of time. Prisoners should also be aware that costs can be awarded in a judicial review application, so a prisoner who is unsuccessful may be required to pay the respondent for the expense of responding to the application.
Given the complexity of judicial review applications and possible cost awards, it is important to seek legal advice before bringing such an application. If you need assistance, contact us today.