Abate, abatement

Reducing or decreasing something. (The tribunal ordered an abatement of rent.)


Law made by provincial legislature or the federal parliament.  (The Divorce Act of Canada is the law that explains how to get a divorce.)

See also Law; Statute; Regulation

Adjourn, adjournment

Delaying a hearing to a later time or place, whether temporary (for a certain amount of time) or final (forever).  (The hearing is taking longer than expected, so it is adjourned to next week.)

See also Hearing: Preliminary motions

Adjudicate, adjudication

When a decision-maker resolves a dispute after considering the law and the evidence and arguments of the parties.  (The adjudication was delayed so a mediator could try to settle the dispute.)

See also Adjudicator; Alternative dispute resolution; Decision; Decision-maker

Adjudicative function

Power to make a decision using adjudication.  (Administrative tribunals perform an adjudicative function when they resolve disputes between parties.)

See also Adjudication; Adjudicator


Official person who resolves disputes between parties. (Members of administrative tribunals are adjudicators.)

See also Adjudication; Decision-maker

Administrative tribunal

Organization created by the government under an Act.  An administrative tribunal acts like a court to handle disputes.  (The administrative tribunal responsible for residential tenancies handles problems between landlords and tenants.)

See also Act; Dispute

Admissible evidence

Facts and things that a tribunal can consider when making a decision about a case.  (Louis is unhappy about the government’s decision and asks a tribunal to reconsider it.  The letter sent by the government to Louis is admissible evidence because it shows that the government refused to give him unemployment benefits.)

See also Evidence; Rules of evidence


A written statement made by a person under oath to a lawyer a commissioner of oaths, or a notary public, to be used as evidence.  (Philip swore an affidavit before his lawyer Miriam.)

See also Affirm; Evidence; Oath; Perjury

Affirm, affirmation

1.  To promise to tell the truth when testifying as a witness or making an affidavit. (Joe answered and affirmed he would tell the truth.)

See also Affidavit; Testify; Testimony

2.  When a court decision is approved by an appeal court.  (The Superior Court affirmed the decision of the Board of Review.)

See also Appeal


Person who represents another person and can act in their place. (An agent who is not a lawyer can represent a party at a tribunal hearing, but a lawyer representing a party is called a counsel.)

See also Counsel; Represent; Representative

Agree, agreement

1.  Promises made by two or more people to each other to do something or to not do something.  (A lease is an agreement in which the landlord promises to rent to the tenant and the tenant promises to pay rent.)

2. The document containing promises made by two or more people to each other to do something or to not do something.  (Sylvie gives the agreement she signed with her employer to the tribunal.)

See also Contract, Settlement

Allege, allegation

A written or spoken statement about a fact.  (Sara claims that her roof leaks when it rains so she showed photos of the leaky roof to prove her allegation.)

See also Evidence; Fact

Alternative dispute resolution

Different ways other than adjudication used to resolve disputes, including negotiation, conciliation, mediation, and arbitration.  (The parties were given a brochure on alternative dispute resolution.)

See also Dispute; Settle; Settlement

Amend, amendment

Changing a legal document such as an application, pleading, contract, or a law.  (The parties agreed to an amendment to the lease to increase the rent.)

See also Agreement; Contract; Law


1. When a court checks a tribunal’s decision to make sure it was correct.  (When an appeal is possible, it can be “as of right” [a party does not need permission to appeal] or “with leave” [a party must obtain permission to appeal].)

2. A party who disagrees with a tribunal’s decision may appeal the decision to a higher court.  (Decisions made by some tribunals cannot be appealed.)

See also Appellant; Court; Respondent


Party who appeals a decision.  (Emily appealed the tribunal’s decision because she disagrees with it.  Emily is the appellant.)

See also Apply, Application; Party; Respondent

Apply, application

1.  A party’s request made to a tribunal, asking the tribunal to order something.  (Carla made an application, asking a tribunal to order a witness to attend a hearing.)

2.  The document containing a party’s request to a tribunal.  (An application contains the reasons for the request.)

See also Applicant; Complaint; Claim; Motion; Respondent

Arbitrate, arbitration

A way to resolve disputes not using a court.  (In arbitration, a person called an arbitrator considers the law and the evidence and arguments of the parties and makes a decision to resolve the dispute.)

See also Alternative dispute resolution; Arbitrator


Neutral and fair person who ends disputes using arbitration.  (The arbitrator had the witness sworn in.)

See also Adjudicator; Arbitrate; Arbitration; Neutral


Giving reasons to convince someone of something.  (During the hearing, the parties made arguments to persuade the tribunal that each was right and the other was wrong.)

See also Closing argument; Hearing


Something that has not been paid, but needs to be paid. (Maria’s rent is in arrears because she missed her rent payment last month.)


Decision made by a tribunal or an arbitrator to end a dispute between parties.  (The applicant was not happy with the award, but neither was the respondent.)

See also Decision; Order


Bad faith

Bad faith can mean many things: acting dishonestly, tricking a person, deliberately not doing what should be done, committing fraud, deliberately discriminating against a person, abusing power given by the government or the law, being unfair or unreasonable.  (The false reason the employer gave for the lay-off was evidence of the employer’s bad faith.)

See also good faith


Some payment given to a person by government or an employer.  (Jane’s welfare benefit cheque was late and her mother’s employment insurance benefit cheque was lost in the mail.)


Causal connection

When one thing makes another thing happen.  (There was a causal connection between Marco leaving the tap running and the bathroom floor flooding.)

Certified true copy

Document guaranteed to be an exact copy of an original document.  (Matthew received a certified true copy of a tribunal’s decision.)

Chairperson, chair

1. Person in charge of a tribunal.  (The tribunal’s chairperson is chosen by the provincial government.)

2. Person on a panel of a tribunal who has the final say in a decision.  (The chairperson decided in favor of the applicant.)

See also Administrative tribunal

Chronological order

In order of time, from what happened first to what happened last.  (Antoine is making an affidavit to describe the car accident so he writes down what happened in chronological order.)

See also Affidavit

Claim, statement of claim

1. To make a demand to a tribunal and the reasons for the demand.  (Mark claims $2000 from Tina for firing him illegally.)

2. Document containing a party’s demand and the reasons for the demand.  (Mark filed a claim against Tina for $2000 because she fired him illegally.)

See also Claimant; Remedy


Party who makes a claim.  (Mark is the claimant in the claim against Tina, who becomes the respondent.)

See also Claim; Party; Respondent

Closed hearing

A hearing that is closed to the public and open only to the parties, their lawyers, agents, and witnesses, and the decision-makers and staff of a tribunal.  Part or all of a hearing may be closed.  The information related to a closed hearing may be confidential.  A closed hearing can also be called an in camera hearing.  (A journalist cannot attend a closed hearing.)

See also Confidential; Hearing; Public hearing

Closing argument

Argument made by a party to a decision-maker at a hearing after the parties have presented their evidence.  In its closing argument, a party argues how the law and the evidence show that it is right and the other party is wrong.  The party also states the decision it would like the tribunal to make.  (In written hearings, closing arguments are written down and given to the decision-maker.)

See also Argument; Submission

Code of conduct, code of ethics

Rules on how to behave honestly, fairly, and respectfully; a tribunal may have a code of ethics for its staff and decision-makers (members).  (The code of ethics of the tribunal requires its decision-makers to withdraw from a case if they have a conflict of interest.)

See also Conflict of interest, Impartial; Neutral

Collective agreement

Contract between an employer and a trade union (a group of employees who join together to negotiate their working conditions).  (A collective agreement is the result of negotiation between the employer and the trade union about wages and other working conditions.)

See also Agreement, Contract


Organization created by the government to control or regulate certain types of public activities; sometimes a tribunal is called a commission.  An administrative tribunal is often linked to a commission.  A commission may have some decision-making authority.  (The Canadian Human Rights Commission protects civil rights and liberties.)

See also Administrative tribunal; Regulate


Decision-maker who works at a commission.  (The commissioner adjourned the hearing.)

See also Commission; Decision-maker


1. Something given to a person to make up for harm they suffered or for something they lost.  (Serena broke Gabriel’s window.  Gabriel asked Serena for compensation in the amount of money it cost him to fix the window.)

2.  Money paid to a person for working.  (Janet’s compensation was increased so her annual salary is now $40,000.)

See also Damages; Remedy


Party who makes a complaint.  (Annie is the complainant in a case against her employer, who is the respondent.)

See also Claimant; Complaint; Party; Respondent


1. Request made by a party to a tribunal to order something.  (Annie filed a complaint of discrimination against Adam, asking for $5000 in compensation.)

2.  Document containing a request made by a party to a tribunal that explains the reasons for the request.  (Annie’s complaint explains that Adam discriminated against her because she is a woman.)

See also Application; Claim; Complainant; Motion


A way to resolve disputes using a conciliator.  (An employer and a trade union may use conciliation to reach a collective agreement.)

See also Alternative dispute resolution; Conciliator; Mediation


Neutral and fair person who helps parties resolve their dispute through conciliation.  (The conciliator met with each party separately first.)

See also Conciliation; Negotiation; Neutral


Private or secret information.  (Lisa tells her lawyer Martha about some problems with her landlord that she wants kept confidential.)

See also Closed hearing

Conflict of interest

When a person has a personal connection to the dispute or the people involved in the dispute and may not be able to make a neutral and fair decision.  (Angela’s neighbor is the adjudicator for her case so he may have a conflict of interest and should withdraw from the case.)

See also Code of conduct; code of ethics; Impartial; Neutral


Give permission or agree.  (Karim consents to try mediation to resolve his dispute with a classmate.)

See also Alternative dispute resolution; Mediation


To be against something; to dispute something.  (Peter has decided to contest a tribunal’s decision by appealing it.)

See also Appeal; Dispute; Response


1. Promises made by two or more people to each other to do something or not do something.  (Monica signed an employment contract with Irene for her work as Monica’s assistant.)

2. Document containing promises made by two or more people to each other to do something or not do something.  (Irene filed the contract as evidence at the hearing.)

See also Agreement, Settlement


1. Money spent by a person to have a case heard by a tribunal, including fees paid to the tribunal and some money paid to a witness and a lawyer.  (Jane, the applicant, was ordered to pay costs to Raj because Jane had acted in bad faith.)

2. Money that a tribunal spent to handle a case.  (The tribunal ordered Jane to pay the tribunal’s costs because her bad faith had delayed the hearing.)

See also Bad faith


1. Lawyer representing a party before a tribunal.  (Counsel for the respondent asked for a short adjournment.)

2. To give advice to someone.  (Hal was able to counsel Michael not to lose his temper.)

See also Agent; Represent; Representative


Organization that handles disputes between people according to the law.  A decision made by a tribunal may be appealed to a court or reviewed by a court. (The appeal of the decision of the Rent Commission had to be taken to the Superior Court.)

See also Adjudication; Appeal; Decision-maker; Judicial review; Law


When a witness who is called by one party is asked questions by another party, after the witness has been questioned by the party who called him or her, to test if the witness is telling the truth.  (Bob called Maya as a witness so Guy asked Maya questions in cross-examination.)

See also Examination; Hearing; Re-examination; Witness



Money given to a person to make up for the loss or for the harm done to them.  (Irina broke Robert’s computer so she has to pay him $1500 in damages to compensate him.)

See also Compensation; Remedy

Decide, Decision

When a person makes up their mind about something; solving a dispute by saying what is to be done.  (After the hearing, the tribunal’s decision was that Robin must pay damages to Megan.)

See also Adjudication; Award; Oral decision; Written decision


Person responsible for making decisions that end disputes between people; includes members of tribunals, judges at courts, and arbitrators.  (As the decision-maker, the Appeal Panel Chairperson cannot always please the people on both sides of the dispute.)

See also Adjudicator; Chair; Chairperson; Decision; Member


Money that is taken away or held back for something.  (The employer made deductions from Sal’s pay cheques for union dues and taxes.)


1. Not doing something that had to be done under the law or a contract. (Naomi missed a few mortgage payments, so she is now in default with the bank.)

2. Missing a hearing at a tribunal or not providing documents that are needed. (Sophie did not to go to the hearing of her case, so the tribunal made a default order against her.)

See also Agreement; Contract; Law; Obigation


See Response


See Respondent


1. Showing the necessary care and attention. (Doing something with diligence means doing it carefully.)

2. Doing something quickly and efficiently. (The lawyer sent the notice with diligence.)

Disclose, disclosure

Showing or giving information or some thing to another person so they can prepare for the hearing. (Zara must disclose an affidavit made by a witness to the other parties.)

See also Affidavit; Confidential; Exhibit

Disclosure of evidence

When parties show or give copies of their evidence to each other before a hearing. (The tribunal rules require disclosure by the parties of their written evidence to each other.)

See also Disclose; Disclosure; Evidence; Hearing; Preliminary motion


Giving up something; putting an end to something.  (Pascal and Lina settled their dispute so they want to discontinue the case.)

See also Settlement


Freedom given to a decision-maker, by the law, to decide how to manage the processing of a complaint or to resolve a dispute.  (The Appeal Court said the question was decided in the arbitrator’s discretion.)

Discriminate, discrimination

When a person or a group of people is treated differently from other people because of their personal characteristics such as their race, gender, sexual orientation, or religion.  (It is discrimination for an employer not to hire Roman Catholics.)

See also Prejudice

Dismiss, dismissal

1. To fire an employee. (The employer dismissed the employee without any explanation.)

2. To refuse to deal with someone or something; to end something, like a hearing. (The tribunal dismissed her claim because of lack of evidence.)

Dispose of the complaint on the merits, disposition of the complaint on the merits

Handling a case by reaching a decision after considering the issues.  (The tribunal disposed of the complaint on the merits and not on the basis of technical problems with the complaint form.)

See also Adjudication; Issue in dispute; Merits


1. To argue against or to question. (Derek disagreed with a complaint made against him, so he disputed it.)

2. A quarrel or disagreement between people or organizations. (The dispute came up between Gerald and the government because the government refused to issue a parade permit to him.)



To let pass by or go by, like the passage of time. (Over two weeks have elapsed since the hearing.)

Electronic hearing

Hearing held by a telephone conference call or a video conference.  (The parties, their lawyers, agents, and witnesses all participated in the electronic hearing by video conference.)

See also Oral hearing; Written hearing

Enforce a right

To make sure that a right will be respected.  (The tribunal can provide remedies to enforce a right that is being interfered with.)

See also Remedy; Right


Information or things presented to a tribunal to prove a fact; these can include such things as a videotape or documents, affidavits, visual demonstrations, witnesses, and expert testimony.  (There was no evidence brought to support the main claim.)

See also Admissible evidence; Allegation; Expert evidence; Rules of evidence; Testimony

Ex parte

When a party makes a request at a hearing when the other party has not been informed about the hearing or does not attend the hearing.  (Helen, the respondent, asked for an ex parte hearing.)

See also Default; Notice; Proof of service

Examination, direct examination

When a party calls a witness and asks that witness questions to have the witness describe what she or he knows about the facts of the case as evidence.  (Bob called Maya as a witness and conducted an examination of Maya.)

See also Cross-examination; Re-examination, Testimony


Object or document that is put up as evidence; exhibits are numbered, like Exhibit 1, Exhibit 2, etc. (The tribunal accepted the contract as Exhibit 1, the photo as Exhibit 2, and the videotape as Exhibit 3.)

See also Admissible evidence; Evidence; Rules of evidence.

Expert evidence

Opinion or information given by an expert witness about something proven to have happened in a case, based on the expert’s special knowledge or skill.  (The expert evidence supported the claimant’s position.)

See also Admissible evidence; Expert witness.

Expert witness

Someone with special knowledge, training, skill, or experience who can help a decision-maker understand the evidence in an area in which they are expert.  (The expert witness was a doctor who could give an opinion about how long it would take the employee to recover.)

See also Expert evidence; Witness

Expropriate, expropriation

When a government takes a person’s property away from them for a public purpose, such as building a road or an airport, etc. (The government expropriated William’s land.)

See also Compensation



1. A truth that a person knows from his or her own experience of it.

2. Something that can be proved through evidence to exist or to have happened. (The fact is that Nadia started her new job on March 1, 2006, and she can prove this by showing her first pay cheque that indicated her first day of work.)

See also Allegation; Evidence


1. Money paid for services. (The fees were paid to the lawyer for the work she did at the hearing.)

2. Money paid to register something or to put in documents at a tribunal or court.  (The fees for service of a summons by the agent are $25.)

See also File


1. Something like box, envelope, or folder holding information and documents for each case brought to the tribunal.  (The case file contains documents such as the application, written evidence, notices, and so on.)

2. To give a document or an object to the staff of a tribunal or the member of a hearing.  (Eleanor files an application at a tribunal.)

See also Admissible evidence; Evidence


Good faith

Acting honestly and fairly; doing something with sincere intentions; having an honest reason for doing something.  (The employer’s argument that there was cause for dismissing the employee was made in good faith.)

See also Bad faith


1. When a person thinks that something is illegal or unfair or is denied a right.  (The claim was filed because of John’s grievance against his mother.)

2. A disagreement between an employer and employees about a collective agreement or with a single employee over rights under the agreement.  (The employee filed a grievance.)

See also Collective agreement; Dismiss; Right


Reasons for doing something; reasons behind something.  (Ellen asks for adjournment of the hearing on the grounds that her main witness is in the hospital.)



When the parties and decision-maker meet formally to hear or read the parties’ evidence and arguments; there are oral hearings, written hearings, and electronic hearings, public hearings, or closed hearings.  (During the first day of the hearing, the parties’ counsel made opening statements of their cases.)

See also Closed hearing; Electronic hearing; Oral hearing; Public hearing; Written hearing


When a witness gives information about something that she did not see herself and she only knows that thing because someone else told her about it or because someone else wrote about it.  (Anna wanted to testify about a work accident but it would be hearsay because she did not see the accident herself.)

See also Evidence; Testify; Witness



Being fair and neutral and not biased or prejudiced; tribunals must have no opinion before they hear the evidence and arguments of both parties to make a decision.  (Decision-makers are not impartial if they do not like one of the parties.)

See also Code of ethics; Neutral


An event; something that happens.  (Carlos was injured at work in an incident involving three others.)


Someone who is not under the control of another person and is free to make decisions on his or her own.  (Tribunal members are independent of government when they make their decisions.)

See also Impartial; Neutral

Infringement of rights

When someone’s rights have been violated; something that interferes with a person’s rights.  (The new regulations are an infringement of rights of the co-op residents.)

See also Right

Interim order

1. Order made by a decision-maker before the time of the final decision.  (A commissioner gave an interim order requiring the parties to disclose their evidence.)

2. Order that only lasts for a certain amount of time or until some event happens.  (The adjudicator’s interim order delayed the award until the appeal of the decision has been dealt with.)

See also Order; Stay

Investigate, investigation

Carefully trying to find out the truth about something.  (The employer had carried out an investigation to learn more about the claims.)

Issue in dispute

Things the parties disagree about, either about the facts of what happened or about what the law says about the situation.  (A tribunal must resolve all the issues in dispute in its decision.)

See also Dispute


Judicial review

When a court checks over a decision made by a tribunal to make sure the tribunal did not go beyond what it is allowed to do under the law or did not fail to do what it should have done.

See also Appeal; Jurisdiction; Mandate of an organization; Reconsideration; Review; Stay


Power of a tribunal to deal with a dispute based on the type of dispute and the geographical area where the dispute happens.  A tribunal gets its jurisdiction from an act passed by the government.  (A human rights tribunal hears human rights disputes about rental properties but does not have jurisdiction to hear disputes over rent between landlords and tenants.)

See also Act; Judicial review; Mandate of an organization; Preliminary motion; Reconsideration.



The rules made by the government or courts that govern society and give rights   and obligations to people.  (The Criminal Code is a law of Canada.)

See also Act; Legislation; Obligation; Regulation; Right; Statute


Person who is trained and authorized to give legal advice to people.  (Lawyers explain the law and advise people more than they go to court.)

See also Counsel; Law; Represent; Representative

Leading question

Type of question asked to a witness by a party that suggests or contains the answer that the party wants the witness to give and can usually be answered with a “yes” or a “no.” (When Keira asked, “Is it true that the window was broken around 5 p.m.?” she is asking a leading question because her question contains the information she wants from Greta.)

See also Cross-examination; Examination; Open question; Re-examination

Leave of appeal

Permission to appeal a tribunal’s decision.  (Fiona must get leave to appeal from a court before she can appeal a tribunal’s decision.)

See also Appeal


1. Related to the law or created by the law. (The agent explained the purchaser’s legal obligation.)

2. Permitted by the law.  (The parade was not a legal activity because the permit had been refused.)


Type of law made by the government; statutes and regulations.  (The Divorce Act is legislation that deals with divorce.)

See also Act; Law; Regulation; Statute


When someone has an obligation to do something or to not do something under the law.  (People who sign a contract are taking on a liability to each other under the contract.)

See also Contract; Damages; Liable; Obligation


When the law says that someone is responsible to another person for a loss or injury to that person, because of something they did or did not do.  (The company was liable for the accident because they knew the equipment needed to be serviced.)

See also Law; Liability


Mandate of an organization

Activities that an organization must carry out; a tribunal can do only the things that the law requires it to do.  (The Labour Relations Board cannot handle issues that are outside the mandate of the organization.)

See also Judicial review; Jurisdiction; Reconsideration


When something is required to be done.  (It is a mandatory requirement to serve documents by registered mail.)


One way to settle disputes; a person called a mediator helps the parties work out a solution to their dispute.  A meeting with a mediator may also be called a settlement meeting or a settlement conference.  (Before filing a grievance, the parties decided to try mediation.)

See also Alternative dispute resolution; Conciliation; Mediator; Settlement


Neutral and fair person who helps people talk through and solve a problem without taking sides.  (The mediator first met with each side alone to hear their stories.)

See also Arbitrator; Impartial; Mediation; Neutral


Person who holds hearings and makes decisions at an administrative  tribunal. (Your file has been assigned to a member of the tribunal.)

See also Adjudicator; Administrative tribunal; Decision-maker


Real issues in the application, complaint, claim, or appeal.  (This decision was made on the merits and not for any technical reason.)

See also Dispose of the complaint on the merits.


Reducing or limiting harm or a loss.  (Mike is suing his employer for firing him illegally but he should look for a new job to mitigate his losses.)

Monetary award

Decision of a tribunal giving money to a party.  (Mike expects to receive a monetary award, but he cannot wait for that.)

See also Award; Compensation; Damages

Monetary remedy

Decision that a tribunal can make that gives money to a party.  (Alicia got $6000 in damages as a monetary remedy, plus she got her job back.)

See also Award; Compensation; Damages; Remedy


Request made by a party to a tribunal, asking the tribunal to order something.  A motion can be written or spoken at a hearing.  (Kasper makes a motion for disclosure of evidence at the hearing.)

See also Disclosure of evidence; Interim order; Moving party

Moving party

Party who makes a motion, meaning they request something from the tribunal.  (It was Kasper’s motion for disclosure of evidence, so Kasper is the moving party.)

See also Motion; Party


Negotiate, negotiation

When people talk and compromise to settle a dispute or solve a problem.  (Hugo and his landlord Veronica don’t agree about the rent for next year so Hugo suggested negotiation as a way of finding an amount of rent acceptable to both of them.)

See also Agreement; Alternative dispute resolution; Contract


Not biased or prejudiced.  (Decision-makers at tribunals must be neutral.)

See also Arbitrator; Code of conduct; Code of ethics; Impartial; Mediator

Non-monetary remedy

A decision by a tribunal that gives the winning party something other than money.  (Lia wants only a non-monetary remedy from the tribunal, because she asks only for an order to evict her tenant Tania for not paying rent.)

See also Award; Monetary award; Monetary remedy; Order; Remedy


1. When someone gets told about something by someone else who writes or speaks to them about it.  (Milan sent his landlord Mitch a letter so Mitch has received notice that urgent repairs are needed.)

2. A notice is a document that informs a person about something happening at a tribunal that they need to know about.  (Tran receives a notice of hearing, which tells him to attend a hearing at the tribunal at 10 a.m. on December 13, 2007.)

See also Ex parte; Default; Notice of motion; Notification; Proof of service.

Notice of motion

Document informing a party about a request that will be made to the tribunal.  (The notice of motion that Dom received tells the type of request, the order asked for, the date, time, and place of the hearing of the motion.)

See also Interim order; Motion; Notice.

Notify, notification

Informing a person about something.  (The tribunal asked for proof that Jake received notification of the hearing.)

See also Notice



How a person promises or swears to tell the truth when giving testimony or making an affidavit.  (Adele took an oath and swore that her affidavit was true.)

See also Affidavit; Affirm; Perjury; Testify; Witness


When a party opposes certain evidence presented by the other party or the way in which the other party is proceeding with its evidence.  (Bernice’s witness has been talking about something not connected to the case so Laura gets up and says,”Objection, this is not relevant.”)

See also Admissible evidence; Evidence; Rules of evidence


A duty created by the law or something that has to be done.  (The employer has an obligation to do what the tribunal ordered it to do.)

See also Mandatory

Omit, omission

Not doing something that a person is required to do by law; a person may be held liable for their omission.  (Drivers who don’t stop at red lights can be held liable for their omission.)

Open question

Style of question asked to a witness, one that does not suggest or contain the answer that the party wants the witness to give.  (Rachel wants her witness to describe how Rachel was injured so she used the open question, “What happened on the morning of February 10, 2006?”  instead of the closed question, “Did the broken machine injure me at work on February 10, 2006?”)

See also Cross-examination; Examination; Leading question; Party; Re-examination; Witness

Opening statement

What a party says at the beginning of a hearing, before giving their evidence, to explain the issues in dispute and the evidence that they will have.  (In his opening statement, Harry explained the other kinds of evidence he would present.)

Oral decision

A decision that is spoken aloud by a decision-maker at the end of a hearing, instead of being written out later.  (The tribunal was able to deliver an oral decision immediately)

See also Decision; Hearing; Written decision

Oral evidence

Answers given by a witness in testimony at a hearing.  (The complainant’s mother is in hospital and not able to give oral evidence.)

See also Affidavit; Cross-examination; Examination; Re-examination; Testimony; Witness

Oral hearing

When the parties, their lawyers, and witnesses go to the tribunal in person to present their case in a formal meeting.  (An oral hearing was held in August and written arguments were provided in September.)

See also Closed hearing; Electronic hearing; Oral hearing; Public hearing; Written hearing


How a tribunal declares that something must be done.  An order can be final or interim.  (The tribunal ordered an employer to get safer equipment for its employees and also required that the order be posted in the worker’s lunchroom.)

See also Compensation; Damages; Decision; Interim order; Redress mechanism; Remedy; Restitution


Pain and suffering

A type of damages that is money given to a party for experiencing emotional problems (pain, fear, etc.) after being harmed by the respondent.  (An award for pain and suffering is not a punishment but must equal the misery.)

See also Damages; Remedy

Party, parties

1. Person or organization, company, or government agency in a dispute that a tribunal will handle, including the applicant or a claimant, a complainant or appellant and respondent.  Other participants such as witnesses, lawyers, or agents are not parties.  (Lucie is an applicant and Javed is a respondent so they are both parties in this case.)

2. Person or organization that made a contract or an agreement with another.  (Pierre and Jim are the only parties to the contract.)

See also Agreement; Appellant; Applicant; Claimant; Complainant; Contract; Respondent

Perjure, perjury

A lie told by a person under oath (written in an affidavit or spoken while giving testimony).  (While testifying, Vincent lied and committed perjury.)

See also Affidavit; Affirm; Oath; Testimony

Pre-hearing conference

A meeting of the parties and the tribunal or mediator before the formal, main hearing of the case to decide on the issues in dispute, to set dates for steps like disclosure of evidence, and to set the length of time needed for the hearing.  (At the pre-hearing conference, the parties were actually able to settle their disagreement.)

See also Disclosure of evidence; Hearing; Issue in dispute; Mediator; Settlement


1. Injury or harm

2. Not being able to act on a right

3. Bias: agreeing with one side over another without good reasons. (Ali suffered prejudice [1] because he lost his job when he was in an accident.  His case was then again prejudiced [2] because he was not able to take his claim to court after a member of the Workers’ Compensation Tribunal made a decision against him that was based on racial prejudice [3].)

See also Code of ethics; Discrimination; Impartial; Neutral; Right

Preliminary motion

Request made to a tribunal before the hearing starts, on preliminary issues or preliminary matters.  Preliminary motions can also be called preliminary applications or interim motions.  (The respondent’s preliminary motion challenged the jurisdiction of the tribunal.)

See also Adjournment; Disclosure of evidence; Interim order; Jurisdiction; Motion


Steps to take and documents to use for a case at a tribunal.  (The rules of procedure tell how to send notices to other parties.)

See also File; Notice; Rules of procedure; rules of practice and procedure; Time limit


1. The case being taken through the steps at a tribunal.

2. The activity in a case at a tribunal.  (There has been a motion for adjournment of this proceeding.)

Proof of service

An affidavit or receipt that confirms that another document was served to a witness or a party and tells when and how the document was served.  (The proof of service shows that the notice of motion was served on the respondent on Monday, December 11, 2007, by hand deliver.)

See also Notice; Notice of motion; Serve


A part of a law, or a regulation, or a contract, a will, or other legal document.  A provision can also be called a clause, paragraph, section, article, or term. (The respondent claims that this provision of the Act violates the Charter of Rights.)

Public hearing

Hearing that the public can attend or find out about.  The public means people other than the parties, their lawyers, agents or witnesses, and the decision-maker and staff of the tribunal.

See also Closed hearing; Hearing



Almost like a judge or court of justice.  (Tribunals are called quasi-judicial because they act like courts when they resolve disputes.)

See also Adjudication; Decision



Questioning a witness again, after cross-examination of that witness, about new things talked about during cross-examination.  (After Guy is done with cross-examination, Bob’s re-examination of the witness was meant to let her explain some answers she gave during cross-examination.)

See also Cross-examination; Examination; Testimony; Witness


When a tribunal reviews its own decision, so that it can check if the decision is correct.  (Reconsideration is sometimes called reopening or rehearing.)

See also Appeal; Judicial review; Review

Redress mechanism

A way to help a person who suffered harm.  (The tribunal considered what redress mechanism was available to it.)

See also Compensation; Damages; Remedy; Restitution


Making rules and enforcing them to control some activity.  (The Milk Board regulates the sale of milk products.)

See also Law; Regulation


Rules made to provide detail to statute law; each Act has its own regulations.  (A regulation can also be called an order, rule, form, or by-law.)

See also Act; Law; Legislation; Regulate; Statute

Relevant evidence

Fact or thing linked to an issue or dispute, relevant because it helps prove that something happened or didn’t happen, or that something exists or doesn’t exist.  (The doctor’s report is relevant evidence that shows when Julia became sick.)

See also Admissible evidence; Rules of evidence


To correct a situation or make it good again; a way to put right or help out a person who has been injured or harmed, or to make sure that a person’s rights will be respected or that something does not happen again.  (The tribunal ordered Christina to leave her apartment because she has not paid rent for the last few months, which was the remedy Betty had asked for.)

See also Compensation; Redress mechanism; Restitution; Right

Render a decision

To make a decision and publish it to the parties or the public.  (The tribunal promised to render a decision before the end of the month.)

See also Adjudicate; Arbitrate; Decide


1. To speak or act in the place of another person. (Farah, an advocate, represents Joseph at the hearing.)

2. To claim something about a fact.  (Counsel for the applicant represented to the tribunal that the applicant had been illegally fired.)

See also Agent; Allege; Allegation; Counsel; Fact; Lawyer; Representative


Person who acts for another person. (Margaret’s lawyer Alex is her representative and all correspondence goes to him.)

See also Agent; Counsel; Lawyer, Represent


To ask for something.  (Guy requested the tribunal adjourn the hearing.)

See also Application; Motion


Person against whom an appeal, an application, a complaint, or a claim is made, and who must respond or answer to the appeal, application, complaint, or claim. (Marcus filed a complaint against Bridget, so Bridget is the respondent.)

See also Appellant; Applicant; Claimant; Complainant; Party

Responding party

Person who did not bring the case but is affected by it.  (Zoe asked the tribunal to make Laila disclose her evidence.  Laila becomes the responding party for this one motion.)

See also Motion; Moving party


1. Part of the hearing when a respondent presents evidence and arguments against the other side.  (After hearing the claimant’s evidence, the tribunal started to hear the response’s evidence.)

2. Documents containing the respondent’s facts and arguments.  (A party must file a response after being served with a claim.)

3. Legal concept that justifies behaviour that would otherwise be illegal.  (The response explained why the person was fired without any warning.  This is also called defence of cause.)

See also Arguments; Evidence; Hearing; Respondent


1. When a person returns something that they should not have had in the first place.  (Jared wrongly reported his work hours so he had to repay Rose $100 to make restitution.)

2. Giving something to a person to makeup for their injury or a loss.  (The tribunal ordered and Andrew received $500 in restitution.)

See also Compensation; Damages; Redress mechanism; Remedy


To check over something to make sure it is correct, or to reconsider it, such as when a tribunal may check its own decision, or a court considers a decision of a tribunal.  (The decision was reviewed by a new panel of members.)

See also Appeal; Judicial review; Jurisdiction; Reconsideration


A liberty or privilege that the law says a person can do or have.  (You may have the right to be represented by a lawyer at a tribunal, but you may not have the money for it.)

See also Law

Rules of evidence

A set of rules that a tribunal uses to figure out if some fact or thing can be accepted for its consideration: Is it relevant, reliable, necessary, and fair?  (The lawyers started arguing over the rules of evidence and how they applied to admitting the store receipt.)

See also Admissible evidence

Rules of Procedure, Rules of Practice and Procedure

Rules containing the steps to take and documents to use for a case at a tribunal.  (The Rules of Procedure indicate the time limit for asking the tribunal to review a decision.)

See also Notice; Procedure; Time limit; Reconsideration



To deliver, mail, or hand over documents to someone according to the rules of procedure that apply to the tribunal.  (The tribunal ordered the documents to be served by registered mail to the respondent’s last known address.)

See also Notice; Proof of service


To divide something or break it up into parts.  (Janet’s application to the tribunal deals with two different, unrelated respondents so the tribunal decided to server the application, so that each can be dealt with separately.)

See also Application; Parties

Settle, settlement

Agreement ending a dispute; it is usually written down and signed by the parties.  (With help of a mediator, Edith and Ivan found a solution to their dispute and reached a settlement.)

See also Agreement; Alternative dispute resolution; Conciliation; Mediation; Negotiation

Speculate, Speculative

When something is not practical or it is just a guess because information is missing.  (The applicant’s actual costs are only speculative at this time, so I am going to adjourn the hearing until he can bring in his receipts.)


A law made by the government, often called an Act. (The Divorce Act is a statute.)

See also Act; Legislation; Law; Regulation


To suspend or put off until later, such as a stay of a decision during an appeal or a stay of a case forever.  (Tammy applied to stay the decision because she does  not want to have to follow the decision until the court finishes its review.)

See also Adjourn; Appeal


Argument made or position taken by a party during a hearing; it can be written.  (My lawyer made a submission on how the new law should apply to my case.)

See also Argument; Closing argument; Hearing


1. To hand in or give something.  (Aaron hurried to submit his response to the tribunal.)

2. When a party tells a decision-maker of its opinion about something; can be written submission.  (During the hearing, Gio submits that his employer discriminated against him.)

See also Argument; Hearing; Response; Submission

Substantial prejudice

Serious harm or injury or interference with a right.  (The tribunal allowed Brian to file his complaint late because the other parties would not experience substantial prejudice by the late filing.)

See also Prejudice, Time limit


To show evidence to prove something.  (Mira showed the dates in her lease agreement to substantiate that her lease was for one year.)

See also Evidence


1. A summons is a written order that tells a person to show up at a tribunal; it can tell a person to bring documents or other things to the tribunal.  (Agatha will be a witness at a hearing so she received a summons that tells her when to show up for the hearing next month.)

2. To serve someone with a summons.  (Agatha was summoned to appear next Monday at 9 a.m.)

See also Hearing; Order; Serve



To take an oath and give oral evidence in a hearing.  (Josie asked Tia to testify at the hearing.)

See also Expert witness; Testimony; Witness


Answers given by a witness at a hearing.  (Tia’s testimony lasted about an hour.)

See also Cross-examination; Examination; Re-examination; Witness

Time limit

Amount of time a person has to do something; also, a deadline. (Corinna has a time limit of 60 days to appeal a decision.)

See also Procedure; Substantial prejudice



1. When something is not legally valid, meaning it has no effect under the law.  (Ian and Sandra signed a contract that turned out to be void.)

2. To declare that something is not legally valid and has no effect under the law.  (The tribunal decided to void a notice sent by Patricia to Malik.)

See also Contract, Legal, Notice


Choosing to do something; not being forced to do something. (Joanne’s decision to take back her accusation against her supervisor was voluntary.)

See also Consent



Person who knows something about a case and is called to a hearing to answer questions under oath.  (As a witness at the hearing, Courtney will testify about Martin’s accident.)

See also Affirm; Cross-examination; Evidence; Examination; Oath; Re-examination; Testimony

Written decision

The tribunal members’ written explanation of their ruling, including any orders and remedies in it.  (It is our practice to send the parties the written decision within a month after the hearing takes place.)

See also Decision; Oral decision; Order; Remedy

Written hearing

Type of hearing in which the decision-maker examines written evidence and arguments of the parties to make a decision about their dispute.  Written hearings are sometimes called paper hearings.  (The written hearing has not taken place because the written arguments were late due to a snowstorm.)

See also Electronic hearing; Hearing; Oral hearing