The Surface Rights Board is a quasi-judicial tribunal that grants right of entry and assists landowners/occupants and operators resolve disputes about compensation when operators require access to private land or occupied crown land to develop subsurface resources such as oil, gas, and coal or to build and operate pipelines and power transmission lines.

Resolving Disputes
Resolving Your Disputes

Many issues relating to surface rights are resolved between the operator and the landowners without any need to contact the Surface Rights Board. When the Surface Rights Board does become involved, very often the issue can be resolved through guided discussion between the landowner and operation without a hearing. This section discusses the procedures for each of the ways that the Surface Rights Board assists in resolving disputes.

  • Settlement Agreement: If the parties can reach an agreement on their own partway through the Board process, they can either sign and agreement and cancel the application, or they may ask the Board to adopt their agreement as a Board Order.
  • Dispute Resolution Conference: An informal telephone meeting where a Board Member helps the parties define the issues and find whether there is a potential for settlement. If necessary, the Board Member will prepare the parties for mediation or a hearing.
  • Mediation: The Board can help the parties with mediation if they commit to attempting to resolve their disagreement.
  • Hearing by Written Submissions: When a party makes an application, the Board will ask each party to give “submissions”, which are essentially that side’s argument in written form.
  • Hearing by Oral Submissions: Hearings are a quasi-judicial process in which a Board panel will listen to the evidence from each side and issue a binding decision.
  • Appealing: After the Board makes its decision, that decision can be appealed to the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench.        
  • Judicial Review of Board Decisions: Appeals of Surface Rights Board decisions to the courts plus some other court cases that are often cited in Board cases.

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