Party – A party is a participant in a legal case, and all of the participants in a case are collectively called “the parties”. A party generally has a specific name in the case, such as plaintiff, defendant, petitioner, appellant, or respondent.
Patent Unreasonableness – An administrative tribunal’s decision will be set aside if the judge who hears the judicial review case concludes that the decision is patently unreasonable. The standard is very high, and a decision will only be found patently unreasonable if it cannot be supported by the evidence in the case, relies on an interpretation of a law that is clearly unreasonable, or is otherwise so mistaken in some other way that is close to absurd. A decision is not patently unreasonable just because one of the parties does not agree with it. A judge may even disagree with the outcome of the decision without finding that it is patently unreasonable. See our “Intro to JR: The Basics of Patent Unreasonableness” blog post and our BC Judicial Review Self-Help Guide for more detail.
Petition – A petition is the court document used to file a judicial review case (as well as certain other kinds of cases), in which the person bringing the case (called the “petitioner”) sets out the facts and applicable law that the claim is based on. A petition is generally accompanied by an affidavit, which often includes documentary evidence as exhibits.
Prejudice – Prejudice is the legal term for unfairness to a party, usually as a consequence of something a party does or a judge’s decision. For example, if a tenant applies to stay an eviction but refuses to pay the rent, the landlord will be able to argue that allowing the tenant to stay will cause prejudice because they will not be able to collect rent from the unit.
Procedural Unfairness – Procedural unfairness refers to when a decision is made in a way that is unfair to one or both sides, and can be a basis for applying for judicial review. A judge reviewing a decision for procedural unfairness will consider all the circumstances in determining whether the decision was made fairly. While different administrative tribunals have different rules, parties usually can expect to:
- Have a basic understanding of the case the other side is going to make,
- Call the witnesses and evidence they want, within reasonable limits,
- Make basic legal arguments about their case,
- Be represented by a lawyer or advocate, if they have arranged this for themselves,
- Ask for the hearing to be rescheduled (usually called an “adjournment”) if they have not been reasonably able to prepare for the hearing through no fault of their own
A decision has the potential to be procedurally unfair if any of these expectations are not met. See our BC Judicial Review Self-Help Guide for more detail.