Disputes Tribunal

Disputes Tribunal COVID-19 protocol at 7 September 2021

  1. If COVID-19 restrictions are at Alert Level 3 or Level 4 anywhere in New Zealand, in-person hearings will be adjourned. Where possible, teleconferences will be convened to progress hearings. If this is not possible, matters will be rescheduled to a future date.
  2. If COVID-19 restrictions are at Alert Level 2 anywhere in New Zealand, in-person hearings will continue or resume, complying with the arrangements set out by the Chief Justice on 6 September 2021. Hearings may also proceed by teleconference.

  3. Parties affected by any change in the Tribunal’s usual operating procedures will be advised as soon as possible. If a lockdown is immediate, parties may not be able to be advised of cancellations before their hearing, but should assume the above protocol overrides their previously received notice of hearing. In due course, parties will be provided with information to ensure that they understand how their matter will be handled by the Tribunal.
  4. This protocol applies until revoked or modified by the Tribunal.

Janet Robertshawe
Principal Disputes Referee


Please note: At COVID-19 Alert Level 1, all Disputes Tribunal Hearings will be held in person as usual. Where appropriate, teleconferences may still be an option for a party to attend a Disputes Tribunal hearing.


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

  • 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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