Being prepared for a Tribunal hearing will give you the best chance of succeeding in your application, or defending the claims against you.

What you should bring to the Tribunal hearing

You need to present any evidence that supports your claim, or your side of the dispute. You should have 2 extra copies of all evidence ready for the adjudicator and the other party.

If you’re the applicant, you should have provided copies of relevant documents (such as the tenancy agreement, rent summary, 14-day notices or other correspondence) with your application. Take your original documents and any supporting evidence to the hearing.

Other supporting evidence may include such things as tradesperson quotes, bank statements, accounts, inspection reports, rent book, photographs or letters.

If you’re planning to bring any witnesses, call Tenancy Services in advance so we can let the court know in time. Your witnesses will need to wait outside the courtroom until they’re called to give their evidence. If someone refuses to come, you can ask the Ministry of Justice for a witness summons so they have to come. You can have a friend or family member with you for support, but if they’re in the courtroom with you, they can’t be a witness or say anything.

Who can go to the Tribunal hearing

The hearing is public and either party can take support people with them.

Normally, you’ll represent yourself. Parties normally represent themselves and may only have a lawyer or a representative appear on their behalf in special cases. These are where:

  • the dispute is for more than $6,000
  • the other party agrees or the Tribunal allows it
  • the other party has a lawyer representing them.

The Tribunal may also allow you to use a lawyer if it considers it appropriate due to:

  • the nature and complexity of the issue involved
  • any significant difference between the parties, which can affect their ability to represent their case.

In some cases, a representative can appear for a party.

Contact Tenancy Services if you think you may need a representative, to talk this over before the hearing.

What will be discussed at the hearing

The Tribunal will only talk about issues contained in the application. Other issues are not normally considered, if they are considered they may not be included in the decision.

If you have an application made against you, and you have other issues that you want to discuss at the same time, you’ll need to make your own application.

This is called a cross application and when this happens, both applications are normally heard at the same time.

Make sure you attend the hearing

You must attend the hearing if you want your side of the dispute to be heard.

If you’re the applicant and don’t appear, the application will likely be dismissed.

If you’re the other party and don’t appear, your view will not be heard and the Tribunal will still be able to make an order. This means the tenancy may be ended in your absence or you may have to pay money to the applicant.

If neither party appears, the Tribunal will only determine the matter if it’s satisfied it has all the written information needed to do so. In most cases the application will be dismissed.

If you want to attend the hearing but will be out of the area, contact Tenancy Services to discuss attending by phone conference.

If you have questions before the hearing

Contact the Ministry of Justice to discuss anything to do with the hearing if 5 working days or less remain until it takes place. Contact Tenancy Services if you need help before that.

Contact the Ministry of Justice (external link)