What is the legal test for having an oral hearing?

British Columbia, Canada


The following excerpt is from Pickett v. Waraich, 2020 BCCRT 469 (CanLII):

5. The tribunal has discretion to decide the format of the hearing, including by writing, telephone, videoconferencing, email, or a combination of these. Some of the evidence in this dispute amounts to a “she said, they said” scenario. The credibility of interested witnesses, particularly where there is conflict, cannot be determined solely by the test of whose personal demeanour in a courtroom or tribunal proceeding appears to be the most truthful. The assessment of what is the most likely account depends on its harmony with the rest of the evidence. Here, I find that I am able to assess and weigh the documentary evidence and submissions before me. Further, bearing in mind the tribunal’s mandate that includes proportionality and a speedy resolution of disputes, I find that an oral hearing is not necessary. I also note the decision in Yas v. Pope, 2018 BCSC 282 at paragraphs 32 to 38, in which the court recognized the tribunal’s process and that oral hearings are not necessarily required where credibility is in issue.

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