Disputes Tribunal

Please note: The Disputes Tribunal is currently experiencing COVID-19-related disruptions to its services. This is causing some delay in having new claims being processed and responses being provided to emails the Tribunal has received. We apologise for this short-term delay and appreciate your understanding during this time.

Disputes Tribunal COVID-19 protocol from 5 April 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?

In most cases, hearings are conducted by teleconference. However, read your Notice of Hearing carefully, as this will confirm whether a teleconference is scheduled. A small number of hearings are being conducted in person in appropriate circumstances.

How do I prepare for a teleconference hearing?

Please try to ensure you have sent all documents to the Registrar and the other party in advance of the hearing, have a fully charged phone, and a quiet place to sit without interruption for the duration of the hearing.

What health measures are in place if my hearing is in person?

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

  • 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);
  • 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.
Any concerns about health and safety practices in the Court should be raised with the local Court Manager in the first instance.

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.

  • 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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