If parties are unable to reach an agreement through mediation, the Board may hold a hearing to resolve the dispute. Oral hearings are conducted by a panel of 1 to 3 Board Members and are open to the public.
During the oral hearing, each side is given the opportunity to present evidence supporting their position and to rebut the other side’s evidence. This process somewhat resembles court proceedings, but Board hearings are not as formal.
Before the hearing
To help everyone understand their roles in the hearing process, the Panel Chair will outline how the hearing will proceed and the responsibilities of the parties.
The Board will choose the time, date and location for the hearing. Factors taken into consideration may include the:
- location of the land at issue
- available facilities to host the hearing
- availability of the parties’ respective solicitors, should the parties choose to retain legal counsel
A Notice of Hearing will be mailed to all parties who are considered a party to the proceeding. Expert reports, evidence and other documents must be provided to the other party and to the Board at least 14 days prior to the hearing in accordance with Rule 9 of the Expropriation Act Rules of Procedure and Practice.
For information regarding a Summons to a Witness (PDF, 635 KB) see Expropriation Act section 28 and Rule 18 of the Expropriation Act Rules of Procedure and Practice.
Step 1. Introduction
- At the beginning of the hearing, the Panel Chair will introduce the Board Members. The Chair will also ask the parties and their representatives to introduce themselves.
- The Chair will then outline how the hearing will take place and the parties' responsibilities.
- The Chair will explain the role of the Board, the purpose of the hearing and declare the Panel’s right to ask questions at any point during the proceedings.
Step 2. Opening statements
- The Claimant may make an opening statement, briefly outlining their case and main issues.
Step 3. Claimant’s presentation
- The Claimant may be the first to present their evidence and testimony.
- The Claimant will have the opportunity to outline their position in more detail and call any witnesses they may have (including the Claimant themselves).
Step 4. Questioning of the Claimant’s witnesses
- The Claimant 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 Respondent will then have the opportunity to question the witness (otherwise known as cross-examination).
- The Claimant will then have an opportunity for 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 Panel 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 Claimant’s witnesses.
Step 5. 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.
Step 6. 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 Claimant will then have the opportunity to question the witness (otherwise known as cross-examination).
- The Respondent will then have an opportunity for rebuttal. This means they will be given the chance to ask the witness any questions that relate to information that arose out of the Claimant’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 Respondent’s witnesses.
Step 7. Summation and final arguments by the Claimant
- The Claimant will be given the opportunity to sum up their position and to give an oral argument.
Step 8. 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.
Step 9. Application for costs
- The parties may request leave from the Board at the hearing to have costs and interest determined by the Board, pursuant to section 39 of the Expropriation Act, at a separate costs hearing.
- The Expropriating Authority must pay the owner’s reasonable legal, appraisal and other costs. The Board may also reduce or deny costs where it determines “special circumstances” exist. The owner may obtain legal advice as to whether to accept the proposed payment in full settlement of compensation, and the Expropriating Authority shall pay the owner’s reasonable legal costs for the advice (see sections 35 and 59 of the Expropriation Act)
Step 10. After the Hearing
- After the hearing, the Board's written order, with reasons, will be mailed to all parties.
How compensation is determined
The Board will refer to sections 41 to 58 of the Expropriation Act when determining compensation. The principles of compensation are set out in section 42 of the Act, which includes:
- market value (see also sections 41 and 55 of the Act)
- when assessing market value, highest and best use of the land is considered
- where separate interests in land or security interests exist, they must be valued separately (see also section 48 and 49 of the Act)
- damages attributable to disturbance (see also section 56 of the Act)
- special economic advantage to the owner, and
- damages for injurious affection (see also section 56 of the Act)
Section 45 of the Act outlines many factors that the Board may not take into account.
Panels make decisions on issues based on the evidence presented by the parties at the hearing to support each party’s claim. Evidence may be provided through oral testimony, an affidavit, or a written report.
Evidence permitted to be introduced at a hearing includes, but is not limited to:
- Verbal – Witnesses must take an oath or affirmation that their evidence will be the truth. Witnesses can provide details about the property, expropriation, losses, expenses and costs incurred.
- Documents such as cheque stubs or letters provided by a witness may be marked as exhibits at the hearing.
- Expert reports such as appraisals, business loss and valuation reports, and planning reports.
Appealing to the Court
Parties may appeal an order or determination of the Board to the Alberta Court of Appeal, except when it is carrying out the functions of an Inquiry Officer (see section 37 of the Expropriation Act).
An appeal may be made on questions of law or fact, or both. The Court of Appeal may refer any matter back to the Board or make any order that the Board has the power to make.