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Constitutional Law Mock Appeal Scenario: Benita Suarez v. Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

This resource, originally from the OJEN Spring 2012 Charter Challenge, deals with an application by Ms. Benita Suarez to declare the mandatory detention scheme for foreign nationals under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act as unconstitutional. Ms. Suarez fled her home country, Espadrole, and travelled by boat to Canada where, upon arrival, she was deemed a “designated foreign national” and detained. Her application for release to visit her critically ill mother in the United States was denied and by the time Ms. Suarez was granted refugee status and released, her mother had already passed away. Ms. Suarez challenged the new mandatory detention scheme on the grounds that it violated her right to life, liberty and security of the person, her right not to be arbitrarily detained and her equality rights under ss. 7, 9 and 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This resource includes the trial level decision, which provides the basis for the appeal, as well as a factum template.

About the Charter Challenge

As Ontario’s only provincial appellate-level mock hearing, the Charter Challenge has students prepare arguments of Charter issues raised on appeal. While researching their arguments, students have the opportunity to connect online with other students around the province, as well as with lawyer mentors. Their factums are reviewed and finalist teams have the opportunity to argue the issue before a Court of Appeal judge, either in person or through video-conferencing.

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