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Government & legal system

Making a claim


How do I take a claim to the Disputes Tribunal?

Disputes Tribunal Act 1988, ss 24, 25

You can fill out a form online (see: “Applying online), or fill out a paper claim form (see: “Filling out the Disputes Tribunal application form).

If you are making the claim, you are called the “applicant”. The person or organisation you’re complaining against is called the “respondent”.

Once you’ve completed a claim form and paid the filing fee, you’ll receive a notice from the Disputes Tribunal to confirm that your application has been received. You’ll then be told when your hearing will be held.

Can I get help filling out the claim form?

Yes – you can get help to fill out the claim form. Your local Community Law Centre or Citizens Advice Bureau might be able to help you with this for free.

However, you can’t have a lawyer attend the Tribunal with you.

Is there a time limit for making a claim?

Limitation Act 2010, s 11

You have to bring your claim within six years of when the problem started, otherwise the Tribunal won’t hear it. The earlier you can make the claim, the better, as it will give you the best chance to prove the claim and get the right solution.

How much does it cost to make a claim?

Disputes Tribunal Rules 1989, rule 5

The fee charged for making a claim in the Disputes Tribunal depends on the amount you’re asking for. In most cases, the filing fee can’t be claimed back from the respondent, and it’s non-refundable even if you decide not to go through with the hearing. The fees are:

For a claim of less than $2,000


For a claim of $2,000 or more, but less than $5,000


For a claim of $5,000 or more, but less than $30,000



If you fill out the form online, you will be asked to pay the filing fee by debit or credit card before you submit the claim.

  • If you’re delivering the application by hand to the District Court, you can pay the fee by card or cash when you get there.
  • If you post your application, you’ll have to either pay online, or go into a District Court to pay the fee.
Next Section | Applying online

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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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