Guidelines for Preparing for a
Table of Contents
- Language and Hearing Site
- Hearings Procedure
- Preparing for a Hearing
- Costs of the Hearing
These guidelines are designed to assist individuals or groups who are
preparing to present a case before the Tribunal. They are guidelines only.
The main thing to keep in mind is that the Tribunal can only rule on the
evidence and submissions that are placed before it. The hearing time and
date specified on your Notice of Hearing have been assigned to your case,
and it is wise to take the time to prepare and present your case fully
and completely so that the Tribunal has the facts and evidence that it
needs to make an informed decision.
Language and Hearing Site
Hearings are normally conducted in English in a room provided by the
Tribunal or the municipality. If you require French language services
or physical accommodation you must inform the Tribunal staff as soon as
possible so that your needs can be provided for at the hearing.
Although hearings before the Tribunal are similar to court hearings,
they are less formal. Parties appearing before the Tribunal are not required
to be represented by legal counsel, but are free to have legal representation,
if they so wish. Certain minimum procedural rules apply to hearings before
the Tribunal, and it is useful for parties intending to appear before
the Tribunal to be familiar with these procedures. (Reference, the Statutory
Power Procedure Act)
Appeals are normally heard by a panel of three or more Tribunal members,
and presided over by a member assigned by the Tribunal Chair. The panel
hearing an appeal has members with background and expertise in the subject
matter of the appeal. The main parties to appeals are the person or group
appealing, known as the appellant; and the person who made the decision
that is under appeal (the municipality, program administrator, marketing
board, the Farm Products Marketing Commission, or the Director), known
as the respondent.
The order of presentation at most hearings, is as follows:
- The panel Chair outlines the procedures to be followed for the hearing.
- The appellant presents his or her case to the Tribunal panel first.
The appellant chooses the manner of presentation of his or her case.
This could involve: reading a written presentation, presenting verbal
evidence, calling witnesses, and the presentation of documents to the
Tribunal. The appellant may wish to outline briefly the matters to be
considered by the Tribunal at the beginning of the presentation. Appellants
may have someone else act as their spokesperson if they wish (e.g. their
lawyer, accountant or other advisers). The object of the appellant's
presentation is to present to the Tribunal all of the facts that are
relevant to his or her case and to persuade the Tribunal that the appellant's
position is the correct one and that his or her request should be granted.
- The respondent has the opportunity to question the appellant, and
any witnesses who testify on behalf of the appellant. The Tribunal panel
will also have a chance to question the appellant and the appellant's
- Following the completion of the appellant's case, the respondent will
make its presentation. The appellant will then be given an opportunity
to question the respondent and its witnesses. The Tribunal panel will
also have the opportunity to question the respondent.
- The appellant will have the opportunity to provide evidence in reply
to any new matter that is raised by the respondent. However, it is emphasized
that the appellant must try to cover his or her whole case during the
- Following the presentation of evidence by the parties, both sides
will be given an opportunity to sum up or present their argument before
the conclusion of the hearing.
- When the hearing is complete the parties leave and the Tribunal deliberates
the evidence and makes its decision. A written decision, with reasons,
is sent to the parties, usually within 30 days of completing the hearing.
So the Tribunal can focus attention on the issues, it is helpful for
the respondent and appellant to discuss the case before coming to the
Tribunal to determine which issues they agree can be resolved and which
issues the Tribunal must rule on.
In appeals under the Drainage
Act, the engineer who prepared the report under appeal will be
asked at the start of the hearing to provide an overview of the project.
This introduces the Tribunal to the project and the issues. Questions
of clarification are allowed when the engineer has finished this brief
presentation. If assessments are under appeal, the engineer will then
be asked to provide the details of how the assessments were calculated.
Appellants then present their case as outlined above.
In appeals under the Farm
Registration and Farm Organizations Funding Act normally the appellant
presents their case to the panel, the panel asks questions and compares
the evidence provided to the criteria specified in the legislation and
makes a decision. A respondent is not normally present.
If at any point in the hearing, a party is unsure of the procedure to
be followed, he or she can ask the Chair for direction.
Preparing For A Hearing
Most people who appear before the Tribunal, find that they are more comfortable
and make a better presentation if they take the time to organize their
information, documents and witnesses beforehand. It may be useful to write
down the points that you wish to cover, or a brief summary of what the
case is about, which can be referred to or read to the Tribunal panel
at the hearing.
Although the Tribunal has read the materials filed prior to the hearing,
you should not assume that the Tribunal panel has any prior knowledge
about your case, your operation or the way that your industry operates
in relation to your case. It is best to provide as complete a picture
of your situation as possible to the Tribunal panel so that it has a full
understanding of your circumstances, and what it is that you are requesting.
Every effort should be made to substantiate any facts or statements that
you present to the Tribunal. It is better to present the Tribunal with
first-hand knowledge or evidence whenever possible. If you are relying
on information that someone else has told you that directly concerns your
case, bring the person who has direct knowledge of that information to
testify. The next best option would be to bring that information to the
hearing in a written document signed by that person.
If you have documents that support the case that you are making to the
Tribunal, including copies of correspondence, business records, photographs
and the like, the Notice of Hearing directs that the parties deliver to
each other party one copy of all relevant documentary evidence and other
materials of any kind whatsoever intended to be filed at the hearing as
an exhibit and a specified number of copies to be delivered to the Tribunal
by a date specified in the notice of hearing. The presentation of the
parties may be included if desired. These documents are normally entered
as exhibits in the hearing and are left with the Tribunal so make sure
you have a copy for yourself that you can take away with you after the
hearing. If you bring additional documents to the hearing be sure you
have enough copies for the Tribunal and the other parties to the hearing.
If you are bringing expert evidence, either in person or by expert report,
tell the other parties before the hearing date and provide them with the
expert opinion so they can adequately respond at the hearing without the
need to ask for an adjournment.
It is not necessary for you to send in your argument in advance but you
can if you wish.
Hearings before the Tribunal are public and the exhibits are available
to the public. You should consider the need for confidentiality of the
documents you provide. If you have confidential information that is vital
to your case you can ask that the confidential information be provided
at the hearing "in camera" (everyone but the parties, Tribunal
and staff have to leave the hearing room) and that any written confidential
information be sealed and put in the file. You will have to persuade the
panel that the information is in fact confidential before this privilege
Costs of the Hearing
The Drainage Tribunal has the authority to award the costs of a hearing
between the parties. Section 98 (11) of the Act specifies what costs the
Tribunal can award. The section is as follows:
98. (11) The costs chargeable or to be awarded in any proceedings
may include the costs of witnesses and of procuring their attendance,
the costs of secretarial staff and such other costs as the Tribunal
may direct. R.S.O. 1980, c. 126, s. 98(11).
The Drainage Tribunal does, when it considers it appropriate, award costs
of hearings to parties. This means that the municipality may have to pay
part of the cost of the appellant or the appellant may have to pay the
cost of the municipality depending on the decision of the Tribunal.
For all other Tribunals each party pays their own costs incurred for the
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