3.15: Originating application for judicial review

Case Summary

An Application was brought for Judicial Review of a Decision made by the Natural Resources Conservation Board (“NRBC”). The Decision regarded the licensing status of a cattle ranch located on property adjacent to the Applicant. Both the NRBC and the cattle ranch (Rocky Butte Ranches) were Respondents to the Application.

The NRBC provided an initial Decision to the Applicant on October 15, 2007. The Applicant was not satisfied with the Decision. The Applicant then provided further evidence to the NRBC and called upon the NRBC to review its earlierDecision. The NRBC continued to collect evidence, investigate and correspond with both the Applicant and Rocky Butte Ranches. On August 11, 2008, a second Decision was provided to the Applicant, which confirmed the original Decision. The Applicant subsequently filed their Originating Notice for Judicial Review on February 10, 2009.

Rule 3.15(2) states that an Originating Application for Judicial Review to set aside a Decision of a person or body must be made within six months of the Decision. The Respondent NRBC argued that because the initial Decision was provided on October 15, 2007, and that the subsequent decision of August 11, 2008 was merely a review of the original Decision, that the six month time period had lapsed. Hall J. rejected this argument, stating:

I disagree. The initial decision of October 15, 2007 was almost immediately reviewed and reconsidered by the Board and its Inspector, at the urging of the Applicants. Had no further steps been taken by the Board to review that decision, this application would have to be made within six months of the decision. However, as the Board continued to gather evidence to inform itself in respect of the issue and to communicate with the Applicants, the matter clearly was not considered complete by the Board or its Inspector Mr. Jespersen. The Inspector continued to conduct his investigation, to the knowledge of the Respondent Rocky Butte, and to the knowledge of the Applicants. The decision did not become final until communicated on August 11, 2008. The Application was brought within six months thereof. Accordingly, the limitations argument put forth by the Respondents fails.

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