Evidence for Appeals

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EVIDENCE FOR APPEALS

What is evidence?

Evidence is the material that is submitted to a decision-maker to establish the facts for the decision.  Generally, it provides the "proof" of the issues in dispute.

Evidence may be provided by the oral testimony of a witness, or by documents, photographs or physical objects.


What is “Expert” evidence?

Expert evidence is evidence that is provided by someone who is qualified by education, training or experience to give an opinion in a particular field.  For example, the Board could accept as an expert report the appraisal report of a qualified appraiser, where the appraiser gives an opinion on value.

For many appeals, the Board may be more persuaded by the actual evidence and the analysis of that evidence rather than the appraiser’s opinion.  While it might be helpful to provide expert evidence, it is not required.  Parties can still be successful in an appeal without providing expert evidence. 

Witnesses who are not "experts" may be permitted to give opinions on matters outside common everyday experience.  If their opinions are admitted, they may be given less weight by the hearing panel.


What evidence does the Board receive?

The Board only receives the evidence and documents that you and BC Assessment provides to it.  We do not receive any evidence previously submitted to the Property Assessment Review Panel.  The appeal before the Board is an entirely new proceeding and provides the parties with a fresh opportunity to present evidence in support of their case.


When should I submit my evidence?

The Board requires evidence to be produced before the hearing to ensure that:

Most appeals are decided based on written submissions from the parties.  The Board will order the parties to deliver their submissions by specific deadlines.  The submissions must include the party’s evidence along with all their arguments.

For some appeals, the Board will hold an in-person hearing and, some cases it may also conduct all or part of a hearing by telephone or video conference. The Board will order the parties to deliver all their evidence by specific deadlines (in advance of the hearing).

The Board requires evidence to be produced before the hearing to ensure that:

  • all contentious matters are disclosed in advance,
  • parties know each other’s case,
  • adjournments are not required, and
  • hearings are completed as scheduled. 

Please note: 

  1. If a party does not deliver their evidence or submissions by their deadlines, the Board may not admit or consider them. 
  2. Parties must deliver two copies to the Board and one copy to the other party.


What Evidence Will the Board Accept?

The Board may accept any evidence that is relevant to an issue in the appeal and may make rulings on the admissibility of evidence. It is not bound by the technical and legal rules of evidence and may accept evidence that would not necessarily be accepted in a court – so long as the evidence is relevant.

The Board must consider all the evidence that is admitted and decide which evidence it prefers. The Board may accept or reject all or part of a party's evidence and may determine that the value of the property is lower than, equal to, or higher than the values determined by the Property Assessment Review Panel. The Board must make a decision on the values of both the land and improvements, whether or not the parties have raised the value of both as an issue.


What will be convincing and useful evidence in my appeal?

What is convincing evidence will depend on the issue in your appeal.  If the issue is the value of your property, relevant evidence might include sales details and documents, sales listings, and estimates or invoices for repairs.  You may submit photographs to show how properties compare, or repair work that needs to be done. 

If the issue is market value, the Board needs evidence on the value of the property. If the property itself has not sold, the best evidence will be the sales of similar properties.  If you are appealing the assessment of a single family residential property please refer to the Board’s guide: Single Family Residential Guide.


Things to consider if the Board arranges an in-person hearing:

Oaths:

Witnesses must take an oath or affirmation that their evidence will be the truth. Oaths and affirmations have the same legal effect. Whether a person swears an oath or affirms to tell the truth, the person is bound by conscience and law to tell the truth.


Present for cross examination:

If a party relies upon appraisal reports or opinion letters, it is always better to have the author present to explain any adjustments and answer questions. Evidence that cannot be tested by cross-examination will generally be less persuasive.


Verbal report from an Expert:

If a party intends to present expert opinion evidence without providing a full report in advance, the party must provide a statement of the expert's opinion, together with the facts upon which it is based and the qualifications of the expert. Deadlines for providing an expert report or a statement of the expert’s opinion are set out in the Rules of Practice and Procedure – Evidence.

 

Introducing new evidence at a hearing:

If a party asks for evidence to be admitted that was not pre-filed, the hearing panel has discretion to refuse or admit this evidence.

If a fact emerges from a witness’ testimony at the hearing that could not have been reasonably foreseen, a party can apply to admit new evidence to respond to or clarify that fact.  If the other party objects, the hearing panel will have to decide whether to admit the evidence.  The panel will consider and balance the following:

  • If the party seeking to admit the new evidence, needs it to fully present their case;
     
  • Whether the other party will be surprised or unprepared for the new evidence, and the effect on their case;
     
  • Will the admission of new evidence require the hearing to be adjourned, and if so, should any of the associated costs of adjourning the hearing be payable by the party seeking to admit the new evidence, and;
     
  • Any other relevant circumstances.

If the panel determines that the prejudice to the other party and the impact on the efficient conduct of the hearing outweighs the interest of the party requesting the evidence be admitted, the panel may decline to admit the new evidence.

February 2018