Prepare for a hearing

Whether you’re the applicant bringing the claim or the respondent defending it, you should prepare for your hearing. Because you can’t take a lawyer to the hearing it’s up to you to make your case clearly.

  • Write down the main things you want to say. You can read this out at the hearing.
  • You can give your case to the Tribunal in writing. This is called a written submission.
  • Practise what you’re going to say. This helps you make sure it’s clear and logical.
  • Gather evidence such as letters, invoices, receipts, contracts, quotes, photos or police reports.
  • Ask any witnesses who can support your case to come to the hearing.
  • Send any documents to us before the hearing. You can post, courier, scan or hand them in at the court counter. Whenever you send us documents, include the CIV number from your notice of hearing and the hearing date if you know it. You also need to send a copy of the documents to the other parties.

Bring with you to the hearing:

  • printed copies of all your evidence (you don’t need to bring the originals)
  • pen and paper to take notes (you can ask the referee if you can bring a laptop or other device)
  • any legal references you have, such as advice from a lawyer or other adviser.

If you can’t attend on the date set

If you can’t come to the hearing on the date it is set for, you can ask for the hearing to be put off. You need a good reason, such as being ill or out of the country. You may have to give proof such as a medical certificate or your flight itinerary. Contact us straight away. That will mean you’ll have time to prepare if we don’t agree to put off the hearing.

If you don’t get a postponement, the hearing will go ahead whether you are there or not.

If you live a long way from where the hearing’s held

The notice of hearing will tell you where the hearing will be held. This will be in a Tribunal hearing room at the District Court where the claim was made. If you live a long way from the court you can apply to take part by phone conference from a court closer to you.

This page was last updated: