To start a judicial review, you need to file court documents with the BC Supreme Court and provide filed copies of these documents to the other parties.
A petition is the court form that starts your judicial review. It sets out what you are asking the court to do, why you are asking the court to do it, and the important facts and evidence you are relying on.
Your petition will start with a heading on the first page. This heading is called the “style of proceeding” or “style of cause”. It gives basic information about the case: what court the case is filed in; what registry it is filed in; the court file number; and the parties to the judicial review. The “parties” are usually all the people, organizations, or companies that were directly involved in the WCAT appeal. In most cases, there are two types of parties: Petitioners and Respondents.
The Petitioner: The Petitioner is the person starting the case, so if you are applying for judicial review, that will be you.
The Respondents: Respondents are the other people who are involved in the case that are responding to what the petitioner is asking for. For example, if your employer was involved in the WCAT appeal, they should be listed as a Respondent. WCAT also likes to be listed as a Respondent.
Once you draft the style of proceeding you will use it on the first page of every court document that you draft.
The petition will ask you to list all the people your petition is “On Notice To”. This means all the people who will be served (formally and legally given) a copy of your petition because they might have an interest in what happens in the case. This allows the court to make sure that everyone whose interests might be affected by your case gets notified. You should list all the Respondents but there will be other people who need to get notice of your petition even if they are not Respondents. For example, the Attorney General of British Columbia must be given notice of and served with all petitions for judicial review. If your employer is not a respondent because they did not get involved at WCAT, it is still a good idea to list them under the heading “On Notice To” and to serve them with your petition.
The petition will then ask you to explain four things:
- The orders that you are asking the judge to make: In most cases, you will be asking the judge to set aside WCAT’s decision and return the case to WCAT for a new decision. However, every case is different so you should try to get legal advice about the orders you are asking for.
- The facts that your petition is based on: This section should set out the background facts and events to the case. This should be very matter of fact. This is not the time to argue why you are right and the WCAT decision is wrong.
- The legal basis for why the court should give you the orders that you want: You should set out the laws that support your case. You should also set out your “grounds for review”. Your grounds for review are the errors you think WCAT made that will let the judge interfere with WCAT’s decision.
- The evidence that you will rely on: In a judicial review, the evidence is almost always given by sworn statements called affidavits and not by live witnesses in the courtroom. You should list all the affidavits that you will be relying on. Often, the lawyer for WCAT will file a certified copy of your entire WCAT file in the court. This is called a “certified record”. You may want to indicate that you will be relying on that certified record once it is filed.
This is a blank petition for judicial review that you can download and fill in: Blank Petition for Judicial Review
This is an example petition for judicial review that you can use as a guide: Example Petition for Judicial Review