Disputing a TicketNotice of Violation - Adjudication System
How to Dispute a City of Richmond Notice of Bylaw Violation
The City of Richmond employs the Bylaw Dispute Adjudication System, which allows the City and the recipients to deal with disputes covering alleged bylaw violations for parking, dog licences, newspaper boxes, grease management, at the local level, rather than through the Provincial Court System.
B.C. drivers, residents or businesses who receive a Notice of Bylaw Violation in the City of Richmond have the opportunity to dispute their violations out of court, through independent adjudicators who hear all disputes. These adjudicators are contracted by the Provincial Attorney General’s Office and funded by the City.
The system is set out in the Provincial Government’s Local Government Bylaw Notice Enforcement Act. It is intended to resolve disputes in a simple, cost-effective manner. Richmond's Bylaw Dispute Adjudication System improves efficiency in the areas of paying and collecting fines; as well delivering a streamlined and convenient process to the public.
Further efficiencies include:
- Reducing the costly, time-consuming process associated with disputing violation notices through the Provincial Court System;
- Reducing the high cost of locating and serving defendants;
- Reducing the need for witnesses to attend minor disputes in person;
- Reducing the costs associated with using a Provincial Court judge to hear a bylaw violation dispute in court;
- Reducing the need to employ lawyers or enforcement officers to take minor cases to court; and
- Reducing the time bylaw officers spend in court, allowing them to concentrate on serving the public in other capacities.
By implementing a system comprised of professional and independent adjudicators, the City of Richmond, as well as the Province of British Columbia, ensure that all minor bylaw matters are resolved through a streamlined process. This not only saves taxpayer dollars, but also allows provincial and municipal time and resources to be used more efficiently and effectively. As well, those challenging violation notices will receive enhanced and more convenient service through a streamlined and efficient system.
How the System Works
During the hearing, independent adjudicators determine whether a bylaw infraction did or did not occur. If a contravention was deemed to have occurred, the full penalty will be applied as well as an adjudication fee of $25 to offset the cost of the process. If no bylaw violation was deemed to have occurred, no fine will be applied.
Those wishing to dispute their violation notice must do so by first contacting the City by phone, fax or email within 28 days of issuance. At that point, the adjudication program is a three step process:
The individual disputing their violation notice (disputant) will have the opportunity to speak with a City screening officer. The screening officer will review the details of the violation notice and may cancel it due to technical error or extraordinary circumstances established by City Council. If the screening officer does not cancel the ticket, it will be scheduled for a hearing, or may be paid, which ever the client chooses.
- If going forward to adjudication, the disputant will advise the screening officer which method of hearing they prefer - mail, fax, phone, email or in person. At that time, the screening officer will notify the disputant of what to do to present their case. The City will always present their case, in writing, to the adjudicator.
- The disputant applies in writing for an adjudicator to hear the case. A date and time for adjudication will be provided and the hearing will be conducted at Richmond City Hall or another public location. Options include providing a representation in writing, by phone or in person. The full penalty amount and the adjudication fee of $25 are payable only if the contravention was deemed to have occurred and the violation notice is upheld.
- Municipalities have more control over bylaw fine collection;
- Disputes are resolved locally with a minimum of process; benefiting both the community and person disputing the alleged infraction;
- Those who are challenging violation notices no longer wait all day for court hearing;
- Those who are challenging violation notices do not have to leave work or home in order to have a hearing; Richmond alternates between all day or afternoon or evening hearing appointments.