A judicial review is not an appeal, and a judge will generally not re-hear the case on judicial review. A court will not overturn a Residential Tenancy Branch (RTB) decision simply because you think that the decision was wrong, or because you do not agree with the decision made, or because you want a second chance to argue your case.
The role of the court on judicial review is limited to reviewing the decision, and the RTB’s procedures in reaching the decision, to see if it is so flawed or procedurally unfair that it should be set aside or cancelled. In reviewing a RTB decision, the court recognizes that the government has given the RTB (and not the court) the power to make the decision. This means the court will usually defer to the RTB and will not interfere with the RTB’s decision unless there is a very serious error.
What will happen if you win a judicial review
If you bring a judicial review and you win (the court agrees that the RTB decision is so faulty it should be set aside), it is up to the court to decide the best remedy.
Typically, the court will set aside the RTB’s decision and send the case back to the RTB for a re-hearing. This means that the RTB will have a second chance to hear the case and make a new decision without repeating the same errors. The judge will usually not make a new decision in your case. If you win your judicial review, the other side may have to pay for your legal costs. Court costs could be several thousand dollars, even if no lawyer was hired.
What will happen if you lose a judicial review
If you bring a judicial review and you lose (the court decides not to interfere with the RTB decision), then the original RTB decision remains in effect.
In most court cases, the losing party in a judicial review is responsible for paying the other side’s court costs. If you win your judicial review, the other side may have to pay for your legal costs. If you lose your judicial review, you may have to pay the other side’s legal costs. Court costs could be several thousand dollars, even if no lawyer was hired.