The Surface Rights Board is a quasi-judicial tribunal that grants right of entry and assists landowners/occupants and operators resolve disputes about compensation when operators require access to private land or occupied crown land to develop subsurface resources such as oil, gas, and coal or to build and operate pipelines and power transmission lines.

Hearing
 
Related Links
 
Overview of Process

Hearings are conducted pursuant to part 4 of the Surface Rights Board Rules.

Hearings to determine compensation are conducted pursuant to section 23, section 27, and section 30 of the Surface Rights Act. Hearings may be done entirely through written correspondence, or they may be oral. Oral herrings are usually done in person and held in a city near the subject lands. They generally take place in a meeting room, although they can occasionally take place in a courtroom. They are usually open to the public. A hearing will typically be conducted by a panel of either one or three Board Members. In the event that the panel involves three members, one member will chair the hearing.

Board hearings are generally more formal than a Pre-Hearing Dispute Resolution Conference, but less formal than a court hearing. The Panel is not required to abide by the same rules of court and rules of evidence that courts are required to follow, but they will usually take into account the rules established in the Surface Right Board Rules.

Hearings generally follow the format laid out below:

Before the hearing:

The Board shall choose the time, date, and location for which a hearing will take place. Factors taken into consideration may include the location of the land at issue, the proximity to the landowner’s residence, the availability of facilities to host the hearing and, should the parties choose to retain legal counsel, the availability of their respective solicitors. (Rules 18, 19, and 21 of the Surface Rights Board Rules) If a hearing needs to be adjourned or rescheduled, it is done pursuant to Rule 25.

A Notice of Hearing will then be mailed to all parties who are considered a part of the proceeding. (Rule 24 of the Surface Rights Board Rules).

If you plan to bring any written material to the hearing, you must provide one copy for each of the Board Members (there will typically be one or three board members), one copy to be marked as an exhibit, and one copy for each of the other parties. For more information, see Rules 29 and 30 of the Surface Rights Board Rules.

 
Minimize 1. Introduction by the Board:

At the beginning of the hearing the Panel Chair will introduce the Board Members. The Chair will also ask for the parties and their representatives to introduce themselves. It is useful to bring business cards to provide to the Board, if available. The Chair will then outline how the hearing is going to take place and what the parties’ responsibilities are. If the matter relates to a Right of Entry Order, the Board will inquire as to whether the entry fee and 80% of the last offer have been paid. The Chair will explain the role of the Surface Rights Board and the purpose of the hearing. The Chair will also declare the panel’s right to ask questions at any point during the proceedings.

Minimize 2. Opening Statements:
At this point the Board will ask the parties to briefly outline their positions.
Minimize 3. Applicant’s Presentation:

The applicant shall be the first to present his/her evidence and testimony.

Note: In the case of an application for a new taking under a Right of Entry Order, the operator is the applicant. In the case of a party asking for a determination of compensation, a review of annual rental payments or for a determination of damages, the landowner (or other occupant of the land) is the applicant.

The applicant will have the opportunity to outline his/her position in more detail and call any witnesses they may have (including the applicant themselves). 

Questioning of the applicant’s Witnesses:

  •  The applicant will call his/her first witness and will have the first opportunity to ask them questions. The witness will be asked by a Board member to swear an oath before questioning begins.
  • The respondent will then have the opportunity to question the witness (otherwise known as cross-examination).
  • The applicant will then have an opportunity for a rebuttal. This means they will be given the chance to ask the witness any questions that relate to information that arose out of the respondent’s questions.
  • The Board will then have the opportunity to ask any questions they may have of the witness. The witness will then be excused.
  • This process will be repeated for each of the applicant’s witnesses.
Minimize 4. Respondent’s Presentation:

The respondent will be given the chance to outline their position in more detail and call any witnesses they may have (including the respondent themselves) to give testimony. 

Questioning of the Respondent’s Witnesses:

  • The respondent will call their first witness and will have the first opportunity to ask them questions. The witness will be asked by a Board member to swear an oath before questioning begins.
  • The applicant will then have the opportunity to question the witness (cross-examination)
  • The respondent will then have an opportunity for a rebuttal.
  • The Board will then have the opportunity to ask any questions they may have of the witness. The witness will then be excused.
  • This process will be repeated for each of the respondent’s witnesses.
Minimize 5. Applicant’s Rebuttal Evidence:
The applicant will be given the opportunity to present any evidence (including calling additional witnesses) in order to rebut anything new that arose from the respondent’s presentation.
Minimize 6. Summation and Final Arguments by the applicant:
The applicant will be given the opportunity to sum up his/her position and to give an oral argument.
Minimize 7. Summation and Final Arguments by the respondent:
The respondent will be given the opportunity to sum up their position and to give an oral argument.
Minimize 8. Applicant’s Rebuttal Arguments:

The applicant is given the opportunity to present any rebuttal argument relating to anything new that arose from the respondent’s argument. This is not an opportunity to simply restate arguments that have already been put forth by the applicant. 

Note: The Board has the discretion to ask for written arguments instead of oral arguments. If this occurs the panel will set deadlines for which the arguments must be received by the Board. The panel may refer to these arguments as submissions.

Minimize 9. Application for Costs:

The Board will ask the parties if they wish to make any claim for costs related to preparing for and attending the hearing. If costs are to be reserved, the Board will set deadlines for any submissions regarding costs to be received by the Board.

Minimize 10. Close of the Hearing:

The Board will close the hearing if all the issues have been thoroughly dealt with. The written decision of the Board will issue some time later and be mailed to all parties. Occasionally the Board may request additional submissions after the close of the hearing.

© Copyright 2017 by Alberta Surface Rights Board   |   Terms Of Use   |   Site Map
Website Design by Primal Tribe
About Us  |  Application Types  |  Resolving Disputes  |  Decisions  |  Resources
1229 91 ST SW Edmonton AB T6X 1E9    |    srb.lcb@gov.ab.ca