Decision Date: June 29, 1990
Court: S.C.B.C., Holmes, J.
Cite: Vancouver Registry No. A901042
Mr. Parker (the petitioner) applied for judicial review of a decision of the Board on the grounds that the Board had exceeded its jurisdiction in the course of conducting an appeal. Specifically, the petitioner maintained that the Board had committed errors of jurisdiction during the appeal hearing: in refusing to compel the production of documents in the possession of the respondents prior to the hearing, denying an adjournment to the petitioners to allow their retained expert time to review the material, and at the end of the three-day hearing denying the opportunity for additional oral submissions choosing instead to receive submissions in written form.
Section 4(2) of the Environmental Appeal Board Regulations provides as follows:
The chairman shall within 60 days of receipt of the Notice of Appeal or of the Amended Notice of Appeal, as the case may be, determine whether the appeal is to be decided by members of the board sitting as a board or by members of the board sitting as a panel of the board, and the chairman shall determine whether the board or the panel, as the case may be, will decide the appeal on the basis of a full hearing or on written submissions.
Section 7 of the Regulations states:
Where the chairman has decided that a full hearing should be held, the chairman in an appeal before the board, or the panel chairman in an appeal before a panel, may require the parties to submit written briefs in addition to giving oral evidence.
The petitioner contended that full hearing under s. 4 (2) of the Regulations required the Board to conduct the entire hearing by way of oral evidence. The petitioner maintained that the Board’s receiving both oral and written submissions constituted a mixed hearing and contravened the Regulations. Moreover, the petitioner argued that s. 7 of the Regulations only allowed for written briefs in addition to oral evidence and not in substitution of oral evidence.
The Court rejected the petitioner’s interpretation of the Regulations and held that “full hearing” under s. 4 (2) means that the Board hears all the proper evidence the parties wish to tender at a public hearing, receives all proper written evidence, and permits relevant submissions before reaching its decision. The method followed by the Board in this instance was found to be well within this interpretation. As to the Board’s decision to deny the adjournment of the hearing, the Court held that the Board has the power to control its own internal procedures, including the matter of an adjournment. The only requirement is that the Board must act fairly and there was no evidence that it did not act in a proper manner here. In denying the petitioner’s adjournment request, the Board made a decision which permitted the petitioner a reasonable opportunity to present fully its evidence and submissions for the Board to consider in its decision.
Accordingly, the Court held that the Board did not commit any procedural errors nor was there a breach of natural justice and dismissed the petition.