Being prepared for your Tribunal hearing is important. It gives you the best chance of having a successful application, or defending the claims against you.

What you should bring to the Tribunal hearing

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

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

Other evidence may include:

  • tradesperson quotes
  • bank statements
  • accounts
  • inspection reports
  • a rent book
  • photos
  • letters.

Who can go to the Tribunal hearing

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

If you want 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. 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.

People normally represent themselves. You may only have a lawyer or a representative appear on your behalf in special cases. These are where:

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

The Tribunal may also allow you to use a lawyer due to:

  • the nature and complexity of the issue
  • a significant difference between the people involved, which could affect their ability to present their case.

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

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

What will be discussed at the hearing

The Tribunal will only talk about issues 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 want to discuss other issues at the same time, you’ll need to make your own application.

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

Making a cross application 

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 person 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 or you may have to pay money to the applicant.

If neither person appears, the Tribunal will only make a decision if it has all the written information it needs 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

If there’s 5 working days or less until your hearing, contact the Ministry of Justice with any questions you have.

If there’s more than 5 working days until your hearing, contact Tenancy Services.

Contact the Ministry of Justice(external link)

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