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

Documents for a Court Hearing

Before you have your judicial review hearing, you will need to prepare the materials that the judge will look at to decide the case. These are:

  • a written argument;
  • a petition record; and
  • you have the option of using legal authorities like cases or statutes, but you do not have to.

The goal of a written argument and a petition record is to make things easier for the judge. You are trying to present the case in an organized and concise way so that the judge can understand it quickly and easily find everything she or he might need.

Written argument

It is not mandatory to have a written argument. However, it is often a good idea to create a brief written argument that explains your case.

If your judicial review will take more than 2 hours and is scheduled for a specific date (see Scheduling a Court Hearing), you should give the judge a copy of your written argument so that she or he can follow it while you speak. The easiest way to do this is to include your written argument in your petition record.

You will also need to provide the other parties with a copy of your written argument. It is best to give it to the other parties a week or so before the hearing, to make sure that they have time to reply to it. If you don’t give the other parties enough time, they may ask the court to adjourn the judicial review hearing until a later date.

If your judicial review will take 2 hours or less (see Scheduling a Court Hearing), the rules of court say you should not give the judge your written argument, so do not put the written argument in the petition record. It is still useful to draft a written argument to prepare what you are going to say to the judge. You can follow your written argument when you are speaking in court. It is a good idea to bring an extra copy of the written argument to court in case the judge asks to see it.

It is useful to get some legal advice on your argument, even if you do not have a lawyer to represent you in court.

If you draft a written argument, make it brief (no more than a few pages). Using short numbered paragraphs, briefly set out:

  • the main facts you are relying on and where those facts are located in the affidavits that have been filed in your case;
  • the error(s) you think the Tribunal made;
  • any statutes or other legal sources you are relying on; and
  • what orders you are asking the court to make.

This is a blank written argument that you can download and fill in: Blank Written Argument

Petition record

You will also need to prepare two copies of a binder called a “petition record”. This is a binder containing all the materials that the judge may want to look at in the judicial review. The goal of the petition record is to make it easy for the judge to find documents and to understand your case.

One copy of the petition record will go to the judge, and you will keep the other copy for your reference. You will also have to provide a copy of an index of your petition record to all the other parties, so that they can create their own petition record that matches yours.

An index is a list of all the documents contained in the binder and the tab number where they can be found. It is similar to a table of contents.

This is a blank petition record index that you can download and fill in: Blank Petition Record Index

This is a sample petition record index that you can look at as an example: Sample Petition Record Index

Petition records must contain:

  • a title page with the style of proceeding taped to the front of the binder;
  • an index;
  • a copy of your petition;
  • a copy of any responses to petition filed; and
  • a copy of every affidavit filed that you or the other parties will be referring to at the hearing.

If you wish, you can also put the following in your petition record:

  • a draft of the order you are asking the court to make;
  • a written argument;
  • a list of authorities; and
  • a draft bill of costs.

You cannot put the following in your petition record:

  • affidavits proving service;
  • copies of authorities; or
  • any other documents, unless all parties agree.

Put each copy of your petition record in a 3 ring binder. Tape the title page to the front of the petition record binder, and make the index the first page inside the binder. It is a good idea to use tabs so that each document is separated and easy to find. Put the tab numbers on the index. If you do not have tabs, number all the pages of the petition record consecutively and put the number of the first page of each document in the index. Use copies of documents for the petition record, not originals.

This is a blank petition record title page that you can download and fill in: Blank Petition Record Title Page

This is a sample petition record title page that you can look at as an example: Sample Petition Record Title Page

Filing your petition record and serving the index

You will need to file the court’s copy of your petition record before 4:00 p.m. on the business day that is one full business day before the date set for the hearing. For example, if the hearing is set for a Wednesday, you will need to file the petition record by 4:00 p.m. on the Monday of that same week (assuming there are no statutory holidays that week). If your hearing is set for a Monday, you will have to file the petition record by 4:00 p.m. on Thursday (again, assuming there are no statutory holidays). Because of storage constraints, the registry will not accept your petition record more than 3 business days before your hearing.

The registry needs an extra copy of your petition attached to the petition record. You should make an extra copy of your filed petition and highlight Part 1. Then use an elastic band to attach the highlighted copy of the filed petition to the front of the petition record binder that you intend to file.

Take it to the court registry and tell them your hearing date and say that you need to file the petition record. They will stamp it and take the binder so that the judge will have it at your hearing.

You must also serve the other parties with a copy of just the index of your petition record before 4:00 p.m. on the business day that is one full business day before your hearing is set (the same deadline as the deadline for filing your petition record). The other parties should already have copies of all the documents that belong in the petition record, so the index will let them make their own binder that matches yours. (NOTE: make sure that you have given the other parties a copy of your written argument, if you are using one.)

Authorities (cases or statutes)

If you plan to refer to any cases or statutes at the judicial review hearing, you will need to bring them to court. Authorities do not need to be filed with the court registry.

If you plan to use a lot of authorities, it is helpful to the court if you can put them together in binder. If you are going to do this, it’s a good idea to tab the authorities and create an index (just like you did with the petition record) to make it easy for the judge to find things.

This is a blank index of authorities that you can download and fill in: Blank Index of Authorities

This is a sample index of authorities that you can look at as an example: Sample Index of Authorities

You will need enough copies of your authorities to make sure that you, the judge, and the other parties each have a copy. At the start of your case, give one copy to the court clerk and one to the other parties, and keep one for yourself.

This website, jrbc.ca or judicialreviewbc.ca, is produced for educational purposes only. This website has information on common situations, but does not cover all possible situations. You should not rely on this website as legal advice. If you have a legal problem, you should get legal advice on your particular situation.

This website may contain inaccurate or misleading information. The law, including statutes, regulations, court rules, court practices, and court precedents can change without warning and those changes may not be reflected in this website. The Community Legal Assistance Society, its funders, its authors, its contributors, its editors, and the distributors of this website are not responsible for ensuring this website is up-to-date, ensuring the completeness or accuracy of the information contained in this website, or any form of damages or monetary loss caused by or attributed to the use of this website, including but not limited to claims based on negligence or breach of contract.

Site by the Community Legal Assistance Society. Content available under Creative Commons CC BY-NC licence. This guide is made possible by funding from the British Columbia Ministry of Justice and the Law Foundation of British Columbia. This guide was originally produced by David Mossop, Q.C.
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