Tribunal Process

Last Reviewed: October, 2023 Reviewed by: JES

Every tribunal establishes its own procedures, so you must always contact the particular tribunal to find out which “rules” you must follow. The rules are usually posted on the tribunal’s website.

There are dozens of provincial, and federal tribunals. This website has sorted Canadian federal and provincial tribunals according to a series topical categories - based on their activities. Search the Admin Law BC Directory to discover which tribunal or regulatory agency deals with your issue. Each listing describes the agency and provides contact information.

Most tribunals follow some or all of these steps:

  • A preliminary review : this first review ensures that the correct tribunal is hearing the case. It usually involves the staff reviewing documents and sometimes making a telephone call to the people involved.
  • Case management: this procedure is used to ensure that everyone involved understands which matters are in dispute and that if a hearing is needed, it can proceed in an orderly way. Case management usually involves some discussions between the parties and an adjudicator about how the case will proceed and is sometimes used along with mediation or a settlement conference.
  • Mediation or settlement conference: this procedure helps the parties agree on a solution without the need for a tribunal hearing. A single tribunal member usually conducts these meetings.
  • Hearings: a hearing is held if the dispute cannot be resolved through any of the steps described above. The hearing may be based on written submissions, or be by phone, video or in person before the tribunal members.

See Preparing for a Hearing for more details on the steps involved.

Getting Help

Filing a complaint or bringing a dispute to an administrative agency can be very complicated. There are specific rules and procedures to follow. Generally there is a set process. Lawyers are trained to help people with legal issues and it may be worthwhile for you to get legal advice.

There are many ways to find out more about your legal problem, who can help you, and how a particular tribunal works. Some organizations provide advocacy services where a lawyer or a knowledgeable staff member can give you information about how to handle your problem. To learn more about the types of resources available, see Get Help.

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