Home | Browse Topics | Government & legal system | The Disputes Tribunal | Appeals to the District Court

Government & legal system

Challenging a Disputes Tribunal decision

Appeals to the District Court

What are the grounds for an appeal?

Disputes Tribunal Act 1988, s 50

There is only one ground for appealing a decision of the Disputes Tribunal. This is that the referee conducted the proceedings (or a Tribunal investigator carried out an inquiry) in a way that was unfair and prejudiced the result of the proceedings.

What happens after an appeal is lodged?

Disputes Tribunal Act 1988, s 51

Once a notice of appeal has been filed at the District Court, the Tribunal referee (or investigator) has 28 days to prepare a report to the court which sets out:

  • how the hearing was conducted, and
  • the reason for their decision.

The court registrar will send a copy of the report to both parties before the appeal is heard.

Who deals with an appeal?

The appeal will be dealt with by a District Court Judge.

How will the judge make a decision?

Disputes Tribunal Act 1988, s 53

The judge will look at:

  • the grounds for appeal, and
  • the referee’s (or investigator’s) report.

The judge will only consider whether or not there has been procedural unfairness. An appeal is not a rehearing of the facts.

What types of decisions can the judge make?

Disputes Tribunal Act 1988, s 53

The judge can:

  • dismiss the appeal, or
  • cancel the Tribunal’s order and order a rehearing (see above, “Rehearings by the Disputes Tribunal”), or
  • cancel the Tribunal’s order and transfer the proceedings to the District Court.

What does making an appeal cost?

District Courts Fees Regulations 2009, Schedule

An application for an appeal costs $200.

Disputes Tribunal Act 1988, s 52

A party to an appeal can choose to be represented by a lawyer if they wish. If a person uses a lawyer for the appeal they will have to pay their lawyer’s fees. Legal Aid is generally not available because of the relatively small amounts involved.

What is the time limit for filing an appeal?

Disputes Tribunal Act 1988, s 50(3)

Either party has 28 days after the original decision to file for an appeal.

Did this answer your question?

The Disputes Tribunal

Where to go for more support

Community Law

www.communitylaw.org.nz

Your local Community Law Centre can provide free initial legal advice and can help you apply to the Disputes Tribunal or defend a claim there.

Consumer NZ

www.consumer.org.nz

This provides information on how the Disputes Tribunal works, your rights at the hearing and how to file a claim.

Disputes Tribunal

www.disputesTribunal.govt.nz

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

You can apply online at:
www.disputesTribunal.govt.nz/how-to-make-a-claim/apply-online

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

Citizens Advice Bureau

www.cab.org.nz

Phone (0800 FOR CAB) 0800 367 222

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

Also available as a book

The Community Law Manual

The Manual contains over 1000 pages of easy-to-read legal info and comprehensive answers to common legal questions. From ACC to family law, health & disability, jobs, benefits & flats, Tāonga Māori, immigration and refugee law and much more, the Manual covers just about every area of community and personal life. It’s for people living in Aotearoa New Zealand (and their advocates) to help themselves.

Buy The Community Law Manual

Help the manual

We’re a small team that relies on the generosity of all our supporters. You can make a one-off donation or become a supporter by sponsoring the Manual for a community organisation near you. Every contribution helps us to continue updating and improving our legal information, year after year.

Donate Become a Supporter

Find the Answer to your Legal Question

back to top