Application to Dismiss Complaint: Parties Settled the Complaint

Information Sheet DA8

Conditions for dismissal: section 27(1)(d)(ii) of the Human Rights Code

For the Tribunal to dismiss a complaint under s. 27(1)(d)(ii) of the Code on the basis that the parties have settled complaint, you must show:

It would not further the purposes of the Code to proceed with the complaint because there is a valid settlement agreement intended to release the respondent from liability regarding the complaint.

What the complainant must show if there is a valid settlement agreement

If there is a valid settlement, the Tribunal will presume that it would not further the purposes of the Code to proceed to a hearing of the complaint. Therefore, the complainant must show why the complaint should proceed, despite the settlement.

Information about the purposes of the Code

The purposes of the Code are set out in s. 3. They include preventing discrimination, providing remedies for discrimination, and promoting a society without barriers “to full and free participation in the economic, social, political and cultural life of British Columbia.”

The purposes of the Code may be met without a complaint proceeding, including if the parties have reached a settlement agreement that deals with the complaint.

Information the Tribunal will consider includes:

  • Whether the words of the settlement agreement show that the parties intended the settlement to cover the issues in the complaint
  • Whether the complainant received independent legal advice
  • Whether there was unequal bargaining power and a substantially unfair settlement
  • Whether a party improperly used any kind of coercion, oppression, abuse of power or authority, or compulsion to make the other party consent to the agreement
  • Duress (not mere stress or unhappiness)
  • Other issues such as whether a party lacked mental capacity to make an agreement, or whether a party engaged in forgery, or fraud