What is a Certificate of Pending Litigation?
The purpose of a Certificate of Pending Litigation, or CPL, is to notify parties to a claim as well as the general public, that a specific property is subject to legal proceedings. It is an effective way to preserve property until a judgement can be rendered.
A CPL effectively ties up the land and puts pressure on the owner to quickly resolve whatever dispute they have with the CPL claimant.
Need help with filing or removing a CPL? Speak to a lawyer today.
How to File a Certificate of Pending Litigation
If you have legitimate interest in a piece of land and wish to protect this interest, filing a CPL may be your best course of action. A plaintiff must demonstrate that there is an arguable case or a triable issue. If there is a sufficiently established case for an interest in land in the pleadings (court documents), a CPL may be registered, and the court should not embark upon a consideration of the merits of the claim.
To file a CPL, you must fill out and submit several forms registered and approved by the Land Titles Office. The paperwork can be tricky if you do not have previous experience with this type of situation and a lawyer can make this process much quicker and more convenient.
How to Get a Certificate of Pending Litigation Removed
CPLs can sometimes be filed against you as an attempt to secure a tenuous grasp on your property and/or finances. If someone has filed a CPL against you and you wish to have it removed, here is what you can do:
- S.252(1) of the BC Land Title Act states: “If a certificate of pending litigation has been registered and no step has been taken in the proceeding for one year, any person who is the registered owner of or claims to be entitled to an estate or interest in land against which the certificate has been registered may apply for an order that the registration of the certificate be cancelled”.
- S.253 of the BC Land Title Act states: “If an action in respect of which a certificate of pending litigation is registered has been discontinued, the registrar must cancel the registration”.
- S.254 of the BC Land Title Act states: “If an action in respect of which a certificate of pending litigation is registered has been dismissed, the registrar must cancel the registration as provided in the regulations”. This section is of course subject to any appeals that the parties to the action may bring.
- S.255 of the BC Land Title Act allows for the cancellation of a CPL by a written request from the owner of the lands which have been burdened by the CPL or a written request from the owner’s solicitor.
- S.256 of the BC Land Title Act provides another way of cancelling a CPL which is based on the hardship and inconvenience suffered by the owner of the land which is subject to the CPL. If the owner can prove that they are experiencing a particular hardship and inconvenience by virtue of the CPL, the court has the ability to cancel the CPL.
To summarize, once a CPL has been registered against a particular piece of land the BC Land Title Act supplies five different ways in which that CPL can be cancelled.
In addition to a CPL being cancelled through the BC Land Title Act, a CPL can be removed on the basis of having been improperly applied or filed.
Determining whether a party has a proper right to register a CPL against land or determining how a landowner can remove a CPL requires a thorough analysis of a claim. Make sure you speak with a lawyer before taking any steps.