Registering a Certificate of Pending Litigation Against Land

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A Certificate of Pending Litigation (CPL) can be filed against land in the same manner as a charge. As per Section 215 of Land Title Act of BC, a person who has commenced or is party to a proceeding, and who is claiming an estate or interest in land or has a right of action given by another enactment in respect of land, may register a Certificate of Pending Litigation. This is registered as a charge against the land.

CPL is issued by the Registrar of the Court in which the proceeding is commenced. A copy of pleading or petition by which the proceeding was commenced is attached to this Certificate. If the litigation has been made under Court Order Enforcement Act, a copy of the notice of application or other document by which the claim is made is attached with the Certificate.

It is utmost important to provide the Parcel Identification Number (PID #) and legal description of the land against which the charge is to be registered. Form 17 – Charge, Notations or Filing is used to register this charge. A legal professional i.e. Notary Public or a Lawyer can help anyone to register the charge. One of the Forms i.e. Form 31, 32, 33 or 34 must be included in the package with Form 17 while registering a charge of Certificate of Pending Litigation. Brief description of the forms 31,32,33 and 34 is as follows:

Form 31- Used when action has been commenced for a claim for an estate or interest in land or right of action in respect of land given by enactment other than Land Title Act.

Form 32- Used when a proceeding is commenced to enforce a restrictive covenant or building scheme wherein it is alleged that a breach in respect to the lands specified has occurred.

Form 33- Used when proceedings for claim for an order under Family Law Act in respect of division of property has been made.

Form 34- Used when proceedings have commenced under the Wills, Estates and Succession Act and lands described in the attached documents by which proceedings have commenced may be affected.

Once a CPL has been registered against a land, the Registrar of Land Titles mails a copy of the charge to the owner of the land against whose title the Certificate of Pending Litigation has been registered. If there is change in the parties holding the charge, a certificate of change is registered as a modification of a charge. Certificate of Pending Litigation will now show a new party holding the charge.

Effect of CPL: The effect of the CPL is to notify the land owner and public that this land is subject to litigation proceedings and the petitioner is claiming an interest in it. It effectively prevents the land owner to sell the land, transfer it or mortgage it. On the other hand, a CPL provides protection to the petitioner who is claiming beneficial interest in the land.

For example, the petitioner asserts he lent money to the land owner, which was used to purchase properties. The petitioner claims the money was not repaid and claims an interest in the properties by registering CPLs on title to the properties. This has the effect of pressuring the land owner to resolve the dispute with the plaintiff.


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