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Certificate Of Pending Litigation – What You Need to Know

DBM Law Blog

As your local law firm in Coquitlam, we are here to provide clear answers to your questions and help you understand all of your available options. In this blog, we will discuss the key points you need to know about regarding a Certificate of Pending Litigation (CPL).

In a scenario, if you are claiming another party that has taken over your land, or you have an unregistered interest in land, what is to stop the other party from selling it or mortgaging it before you have a chance to get to court? 

Here are some useful tips from our Coquitlam lawyers:

What is a Certificate of Pending Litigation?

A Certificate of Pending Litigation is an extremely useful litigation tool when you have an interest in land.  Under British Columbia’s Land Title Act, a person who has commenced or is a party to a proceeding and is claiming an estate or interest in land may register a CPL against the land.  When properly registered, a CPL “freezes” title by preventing the land titles office’s registrar from charging, transferring or otherwise affecting the land until registration of the CPL is canceled. In 1077708 BC Ltd. v. Agri-Grow Farm Services Ltd, the BC Supreme Court stated that a CPL is used prior to judgment and serves to protect a valid interest in land until the litigation is resolved.  It is registered in the same manner as a charge. 

When can a Certificate of Pending Litigation be used?

Essentially, any person in a proceeding who is claiming an interest in land may use a CPL to warn the land owner and public of their interest claim and that this land is subject to the pending litigation.  Consider the following examples:

  • Someone purchasing property may register a CPL when the seller cannot complete the transaction and attempts to pull out of the sale.
  • If someone used misappropriated funds to purchase land, then the Plaintiff could claim an interest in that land and register a CPL.

When can a Certificate of Pending Litigation NOT be used?

In Drucker Inc. v. Hong and Drein v. Puleo, the BC Supreme Court emphasized that since a CPL is used when asserting an interest in land, a CPL should not be solely used to gain an advantage in litigation—such as in a financial claim.

In what circumstances can a Certificate of Pending Litigation be removed from Title?

If a person has registered a CPL against your land, there are ways for you to remove it.  The Land Title Act provides that a CPL can be removed from title in the following ways:

  • The court determines that the CPL claim does not meet the CPL requirements set out in s. 215 of the Land Title Act.
  • If the CPL has been registered and no step has been taken in the proceeding for one year, the CPL may be cancelled upon application to the court.
  • On application, a CPL may be cancelled if the action has been discontinued.
  • On application, a CPL may be cancelled if the action has been dismissed and no appeal has been filed or the time limit for an appeal has expired, or a notice of appeal had been filed but was disposed of.
  • The person initiating the proceedings requests the cancellation of the CPL.
  • A CPL may be cancelled if the applicant who is a registered owner or claims to be entitled to an estate or interest in land, shows the court they had experienced or is likely to experience, hardship and inconvenience brought by the CPL.
  • A CPL may be cancelled if the applicant owner whose indefeasible title or charge is registered, shows the court that they applied to register their title or charge before the certificate was received by the registrar.


DBM Law Firm Is Here To Help You

Still have questions about a Certificate of Pending Litigation and why it is important? Do not hesitate to contact our Coquitlam lawyers for a consultation. DBM Law firm has been supporting our clients with all of their legal needs for over 45 years, and our team has the expertise and knowledge to help you navigate through legal issues. Contact us today! Call 604-939-8321 or visit us at 211 – 1015 Austin Ave., Coquitlam, BC, V3K 3N9


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