The Disputes Tribunal

Resolving smaller-scale legal disputes

What this chapter covers

People can end up in disputes over a whole range of matters – it might be a dispute with a neighbour over who’ll pay for a new fence, with a shop over whether a toaster is faulty, or with a house painter over poor work. The cost of lawyers and court fees can mean it’s not worth taking some disputes to court. The Disputes Tribunal, by contrast, provides an easier, cheaper and less formal way of resolving smaller-scale disputes.

This chapter covers:

  • the main features of the Disputes Tribunal
  • the types of disputes the Disputes Tribunal can and can’t deal with
  • how to make a claim
  • how to defend a claim made against you
  • what happens at a Disputes Tribunal hearing and who can attend
  • how to challenge a decision of the Disputes Tribunal, and
  • how to enforce a Disputes Tribunal decision.

    Note: Key information about the Disputes Tribunal is summarised elsewhere in this manual in a table comparing the Disputes Tribunal to the Motor Vehicle Disputes Tribunal: see “Buying a motor vehicle / Buying a motor vehicle from a car dealer” in the chapter “Consumer protection”.

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