Challenging a Disputes Tribunal decision
Appeals to the District Court
What are the grounds for an appeal?
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?
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?
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?
What does making an appeal cost?
An application for an appeal costs $200.
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?
Either party has 28 days after the original decision to file for an appeal.