Disputes Tribunal

Disputes Tribunal COVID-19 protocol at 3 December 2021 up to 31 January 2022
The Disputes Tribunal has put safety measures in place to minimize the risk of participants being exposed to COVID-19. Under both "Red" and "Orange" of the COVID-19 Protection Framework, the following measures will apply in the Disputes Tribunal.

Teleconference hearings
All hearings will be by teleconference from Monday, 6 December 2021 (inclusive).

Parties will be contacted to confirm that their hearing is by teleconference. At the time of the hearing, the Referee will contact the parties by conference call.

This protocol will be subject to ongoing review and modification as local risks change.

Other safety measures in place
Everyone who attends the Disputes Tribunal in-person until the start of teleconferencing must comply with the following health and safety requirements:

  • Scan the QR Code at the entrance to the Court building, or record details in the register provided at the door;
  • Wear a facemask in the Court building and in the hearing room, unless an exemption applies, or unless in the hearing the Referee approves its removal;
  • Maintain a distance of at least 1m from others (unless they are a person attending with you);
  • Apply hand sanitiser upon being seated at your table; and
  • Cleaning products will be available in the hearing room to enable participants to keep their immediate areas clean.

Any concerns about health and safety practices in the Court should be raised with the local Court Manager in the first instance. In the event of community transmission in your area, public health advice will be taken and further measures may be put in place.

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Disputes Tribunal COVID-19 protocol from 31 January 2022 until further notice

The Disputes Tribunal has put safety measures in place to minimize the risk of participants being exposed to COVID-19.

Do I attend the court for my hearing?

You will receive a Notice of Hearing for your case that advises the date and time for the hearing, and the Court where the hearing will take place. If your hearing is in January, it will take place by teleconference. However, if your hearing is on or after 1 February, most hearings are expected to be able to take place in person, provided you have a vaccine pass to attend. However, the following additional rules apply to your attendance:

(a) Notice of teleconference: Due to changing conditions or risks, you may receive a notice from the Registrar prior to the hearing day advising that you can no longer attend in person and must appear by teleconference. If this occurs, do not attend the hearing, but be ready to take a phone call from the Referee on the number on the claim form at the time of the hearing.

(b) In all other circumstances, if you are fully vaccinated, you should attend the court for your hearing. You will be asked to provide your vaccine pass by the security team at the front door of the court. If there is a reason why you would prefer to attend by teleconference, please contact the Registrar prior to the hearing to advise that you wish to be called, your reasons, and the number you wish to be called on.

(c) If you are not fully vaccinated, the usual rule is that you can only attend the hearing by teleconference. Please contact the Registrar prior to the hearing to advise that you wish to be called, and the number you wish to be called on. If you do not attend the hearing, and have not requested a teleconference, the hearing will take place in your absence. If you wish to attend in person, you can request this. The Referee will make an assessment about the particular hearing location and circumstances, and the Registrar will advise you of their decision as to whether or not you can attend in person. If this approval is granted, your attendance would be conditional on you obtaining a negative COVID test taken less than 72 hours before the hearing.

(d) For any teleconference hearings as a result of any of the above reasons, please ensure you have sent all documents to the Registrar and the other party well in advance of the hearing, have a fully charged phone, and a quiet place to sit without interruption for the duration of the hearing.

Other safety measures in place

All frontline Court staff and Referees are fully vaccinated.

Everyone who attends the Disputes Tribunal in-person must comply with the following health and safety requirements:

  • Meet the entry requirements at the door outlined above;
  • Follow the directions of your Referee as to the number of people who may enter the hearing room at any one time (e.g., support people and witnesses);
  • Scan the QR Code at the entrance to the Court building, or record details in the register provided at the door;
  • Wear a facemask in the Court building and in the hearing room, unless an exemption applies, or unless in the hearing the Referee approves its removal;
  • Maintain a distance of at least 1m from others (unless they are a person attending with you);
  • Follow the instructions of your Referee during the hearing about how documents are to be exchanged in the hearing;
  • Apply hand sanitiser upon being seated at your table;
  • Cleaning products will be available in the hearing room to enable participants to keep their immediate areas clean.

Any concerns about health and safety practices in the Court should be raised with the local Court Manager in the first instance. In the event of community transmission in your area, public health advice will be taken and further measures may be put in place.

Future changes

This protocol will be subject to ongoing review and modification as local risks change.

Janet Robertshawe
Principal Disputes Referee

 
The Disputes Tribunal is quicker, cheaper and less formal than court. You can use the Tribunal to settle small claims up to $30,000.

until further notice

  • About the Tribunal »

    The Disputes Tribunal isn't like a formal court. You usually represent yourself in a hearing - a lawyer can’t represent you, and there are no judges.

  • What the Tribunal can help with »

    You can use the Disputes Tribunal to settle disputes involving small claims so you don't have to go to court.

  • How to make a claim »

    You'll need to fill out a form plus pay a fee and give us specific information to make a claim.

  • When a claim is made against you »

    What to do if you've gotten a notice of hearing that someone has made a claim against you in the Disputes Tribunal.

  • Going to a hearing »

    How to prepare for a hearing at the Disputes Tribunal and what happens at a hearing.

  • Forms & fees »

    Fees to apply to the Disputes Tribunal depend on the amount the claim is for.

  • Contact us »

    You can find a Disputes Tribunal at almost every District Court in New Zealand - they share the same contact details with the court.

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