How long does a Federal Court appeal take?
An immigration appeal to the Federal Court is called an “application for leave and for judicial review” and is a two-step process. The first step is to apply for leave, which means to have the case approved to go to a hearing. Not all immigration appeals to the Federal Court get to have a hearing before a judge, they must first be granted “leave”, or permission, to do so. The application for leave process normally takes about three to six months, but may sometimes be longer. All the court filings that are part of the leave process are usually submitted to the court within three months, but it may take a judge several months to review the case and decide on leave, depending on the court’s work load and the availability of hearing dates.
If the court denies leave then the case will be dismissed and finally concluded. If the court grants leave, then a hearing will be scheduled within 90 days from the day that leave is granted.
Normally there is only one hearing before a judge to decide a routine immigration refusal decision. The hearing itself will likely take less than three hours. Once the judge has heard the case, he or she might make an oral decision on the spot, but usually the judge will reserve their decision and issue a written decision at a later time. Generally speaking the decisions of the Federal Court are issued quickly, within a week to a month, but may take longer depending on the complexity of the case and the workload of the particular judge.
Altogether, and combining the two steps, a Federal Court appeal usually takes between six months and a year from initiation to a final decision.