Nature of Hearing

According to The Land Acquisition Act s. 13(11), “All hearings of the Commission shall be public and any party … may be represented by counsel and may call witnesses, submit evidence, and present argument”. By s.13(12), the Commission may make rules governing its procedure, which it has done.

The Commission conducts its hearings basically along judicial lines with a fair degree of informality, Rule 14. The order in which the parties present their evidence at a hearing is governed by Rule 11. In most cases witnesses testify under oath, Rule 15(b), and all witnesses are subject to being cross-examined, Rule 13. After all the evidence has been introduced, whichever party presented its evidence first, sums up its case first, and then, following the summation of the other party, has the last word by way of rebuttal. The Commission occasionally views the land involved, Rule 15(d). Generally, speaking, the onus of proof is on the landowner; it seldom becomes a factor and the Commission usually resolves any doubt in favour of the landowner. Exclusion of witnesses when requested will be ordered.

Most hearings of the Commission are held in Winnipeg. In the case of cases concerning land more than thirty to forty miles away from Winnipeg, the Commission will conduct its hearing in the community closest to the land at the request of the landowner