Federal lawyers say Conrad Black may try to "re-litigate" his U.S. criminal convictions if allowed to orally argue before an advisory council reviewing his membership in the Order of Canada.

Black, 67, is asking Federal Court to force the advisory council to allow him to present his case in person as it decides whether to recommend revocation of the prestigious award he received in 1990.

Documents filed in court prior to Black's hearing Friday show government lawyers plan to argue there is no legal reason the former media magnate can't limit himself to making written arguments.

They say the order's 11-member council is not the right venue if Black intends to use his appearance to argue it should "reconsider the merits" of his convictions as part of the review process.

The council can recommend members of the order be stripped of their status, but the final decisions rests with Canada's Governor General.

Black was convicted in the U.S. of fraud and obstruction of justice while he was head of media giant Hollinger International.

He served 37 months of a 42-month sentence, but contends he was victimized by the American justice system, and that Canadian courts would never have convicted him.

Black was not immediately available for comment.