The Disputes Tribunal hearings
Before the hearing
What can I do to prepare for the Disputes Tribunal hearing?
Whether you are the applicant or the respondent, you should prepare as much as you can for the Disputes Tribunal hearing:
- Add more information to your claim, if anything comes up – you can add more information to your claim even after you submit the initial paperwork. You can email the Tribunal and get them to attach the information to your file, or just bring the information on the day.
- Practice your argument – Write down the main things you want to say and organise them into a clear and logical order to explain your side of the story.
- Bring supporting documents – Organise evidence that might support your side of the dispute, such as letters, invoices, receipts, screenshots, agreements or contracts, quotes, photographs, or police reports. You can use your phone as evidence, but it’s better to provide paper copies of messages and emails.
- Witnesses – Ask any witnesses to be present at the hearing. If a witness refuses to go to the hearing, the Disputes Tribunal can order them to attend.
Note: You can’t have a lawyer attend the Tribunal with you, but you can get help from a lawyer with the paperwork and organising your arguments. Your local Community Law centre might be able to help you with this for free.
Do I have to submit my evidence before the hearing?
You can submit your evidence and arguments as an attachment to your claim form, or email it to the Tribunal before the hearing, or bring it with you on the day. The referee shouldn’t reject the evidence just because you didn’t send it in advance.
The referee might decide to delay the hearing if they think the other side needs more time to read and go over the evidence if they haven’t seen it before.
If a hearing goes ahead and someone hasn’t had reasonable time to prepare their side of the story, that may be grounds for an appeal.