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Government & legal system

Challenging a Disputes Tribunal decision

Rehearings by the disputes tribunal

Disputes Tribunal Act 1988, ss 42(2), 49, 49(3)

I’m not happy with the Dispute Tribunal’s decision. Can I get another hearing?

You can only apply for a rehearing in the Tribunal if you can show that something went wrong that prevented a proper decision from being made.

For example, you might apply for a rehearing if:

  • you or your witness were unexpectedly unable to attend the hearing for a valid reason, or
  • the referee made a mistake, for example when calculating the amount of money that a party had to pay, or
  • not all of the relevant information was available, or
  • after the hearing where you and the other side came to an agreement, you discover new information that is directly relevant to the dispute, if:
    • you didn’t and couldn’t have known this information before the hearing, and
    • this information would have impacted whether either side agreed to the settlement.

A rehearing will not be granted just because you disagree with the decision.

Note: If a rehearing or an appeal is granted, the original order is cancelled and can’t be enforced.

When do I have to apply for a rehearing?

You have to apply within 20 working days of the original decision.

Who hears a rehearing?

The same referee who heard the original case will consider the application and decide whether to grant a rehearing.

If a rehearing is granted, it will be conducted by a new referee.

What does a rehearing cost?

There is no fee for applying for a rehearing.

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The Disputes Tribunal

Where to go for more support

Community Law

Your local Community Law Centre can provide you with free initial legal advice.

Find your local Community Law Centre online: www.communitylaw.org.nz/our-law-centres

Disputes Tribunal

This website includes general information about how to apply, fees, the hearing process, and appeals.

Website: www.disputestribunal.govt.nz

Information on how to make a claim to the Disputes Tribunal: www.disputestribunal.govt.nz/how-to-make-a-claim
Make a claim online:  www.disputestribunal.govt.nz/how-to-make-a-claim/apply-online
Applying to the Disputes Tribunal by paper: www.disputestribunal.govt.nz/assets/DT-Claim-form2.pdf

Some Disputes Tribunal decisions are available to read at: www.disputestribunal.govt.nz/disputes-decision-finder 

Consumer NZ

Consumer NZ provides information on how the Disputes Tribunal works and may be a helpful resource for consumer-related claims.

Website: www.consumer.org.nz/articles/disputes-tribunals
Email: info@consumer.org.nz
Phone: 0800 266 786

Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB)

Contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau for information about the Disputes Tribunal process.

Website: www.cab.org.nz
Phone: 0800 367 222
Find your local CAB office: www.cab.org.nz select “Find a CAB”

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