Community Legal Assistance Society - BC Judicial Review Self-Help Guide

If You are Applying to Have Your Filing Fees Waived

If you are requesting that the court fees be waived, the person at the registry will not file your petition and affidavit until you go in front of a judge or master to get an order waiving the fees. They will probably hand you back your stamped requisition and affidavit for fee waiver, and they should be able to tell you when you can see a judge or master.

Depending on the location of the registry you are filing in, you might be able to speak to a judge or master about the fee waiver that same day, or you might have to wait until a day when a judge or master is available.

When you are at the registry, ask the registry clerk to review or “vet” your draft order for a fee waiver.  He or she might sign it, which will speed things along when you go in front of the judge.

Whether the registry sends you to a courtroom right away or it happens later, the process is the same.  Find the courtroom you are going to by asking the registry staff or the sheriff.  When you go to the courtroom, you may find court already in session.  If that is the case, quietly go up to the side of the clerk’s desk, which is at the front of the courtroom.  Hand the court clerk your requisition and affidavit for your fee waiver request.  You will then need to wait until your name is called.

Once your name is called, go up to the podium and tell the judge or master the following:

  1. You are representing yourself in a judicial review and you are seeking a fee waiver because you cannot afford the court filing fees.
  1. Explain your financial situation and why you cannot afford the filing fees.
  1. Explain very briefly what your judicial review is about and what errors you think the Residential Tenancy Branch made in its decision. Before you speak to the judge or master think of a clear and concise way to explain this in a few sentences.
  1. The judge or master might ask you some questions about your financial status and the merits of your judicial review.

Remember, your goal here is to quickly show the court that you cannot afford the filing fees and your judicial review has merit.

If the judge or master decides to grant your fee waiver request, tell her or him that you have brought a draft order and that the registry has reviewed (“vetted”) it. Hand the draft order to the court clerk, who will give it to the judge or master. After the order is signed, you should take it back down to the registry and give it to them. Ask them to enter it urgently. You should also ask them for a copy of the signed order. This will let you file your documents without paying the filing fees.

If the judge or master does not grant your request for a fee waiver, you will have to pay the filing fees to file your judicial review.

Once your documents are filed, the registry will give you stamped copies of your petition and affidavit.

Make sure you leave the court with a copy of your petition and affidavit that are stamped with the following:

  • File number (usually at the top right corner)
  • Date stamp (usually at the top left corner)
  • For the petition only, a court seal (usually at the top left corner)

Once your petition and affidavit are stamped in this way your judicial review is filed.