Appealing a Board Decision
If you are affected by a decision of the Board you may appeal to the Supreme Court of British Columbia. An appeal can only be made on a question of law and is known as a “stated case”. The proceedings are not a complete re-hearing of the property assessment appeal. The court will have the evidence that was presented to the Board. You can make submissions on whether the Board made an error of law, but can not present new evidence that was not before the Board in the appeal.
You must file a Stated Case by sending the request to the Board within 21 days from when you received the Board’s decision. Your request, called a Requirement to State a Case, must include the questions of law you want the Supreme Court to answer. There is no provision in the Assessment Act for an extension of this 21 day deadline. If the Requirement does not contain proper questions of law, you will be advised to provide properly worded questions of law which must be received within the 21 day deadline from the receipt of the impugned decision.
Questions of Law
You must clearly word how you think the Board erred in question format. The questions must relate to the Board’s decision.
An error of law arises when the Board:
Examples of how you could word your questions are:
The Board has a form which you can use for preparing your request. The Board cannot assist you in wording the questions – this is your responsibility in conjunction with any advisor or legal counsel you decide to engage.
If you do not provide proper questions of law, the Board will not proceed with the Requirement to State a Case until the proper questions are received within the 21 day deadline.
What Happens Next?
The Board will circulate the draft Stated Case to all the parties involved in the appeal for their comments. The Board will consider the parties’ comments, but has the final say on the wording of the statement of facts contained in the Stated Case. The Board will NOT add new facts/evidence or change the findings of the panel in the Decision.
The Board must finalize the Notice of Stated Case and file it in the Supreme Court within 21 days of receiving the Requirement to State a Case. This deadline cannot be extended by the Board.
Once the Notice is filed, the parties to the court case must schedule the hearing dates through the Court Registry. The Assessment Act requires the parties have a hearing within one month of the Stated Case being filed. In practice, particularly in the busier registries, the case is often adjourned to a later date for a full hearing. It is imperative that the parties advise the Board of hearing dates as we must file any exhibits submitted to the Board and any transcripts that have been ordered and paid for by the parties. Usually, the Board does not participate in the court proceeding.
After hearing the Stated Case, the judge must render a decision within two months. Parties may make a further appeal, with “leave” (permission) from the Court of Appeal.
If the court concludes that the Board erred in law, the appeal will be sent back to the Board. A further hearing may be required, but sometimes the Board can simply issue an order amending its earlier decision.
The Supreme Court usually orders that the unsuccessful party pay the costs of the successful party. Parties should obtain advice on this subject before proceeding with a Stated Case.
An Appeal during the Board’s Proceedings
At any time during an appeal (prior to the Board’s final decision), a question of law may be referred to the Supreme Court either on the initiative of the Board, or at the request of one of the parties. The Board, however, has the discretion to decline a party’s request to state a case prior to the conclusion of an appeal. If the Board does decide to state a case, we must suspend proceedings, as they relate to the question of law, until the court renders its decision.
The Board strongly suggests that you obtain legal advice if you are considering requesting the Board file a Stated Case. The Board is unable to assist in the drafting of the question(s) of law or the court proceedings once the Notice of Stated Case is filed.