Wednesday, May 22, 2024

The Disputes Tribunal can help solve neighbourly conflict

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The Citizens Advice Bureau is often contacted by people involved in disputes with a neighbour. File photo supplied tivysideadvertiser

Many clients approach us at the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) regarding faulty goods or services, and also issues with neighbours, or developers, who may be encroaching on property or knocking down fences etc.

If you have problems with the purchase of goods or services or with a neighbour, which cannot be solved informally, and if the claim is less than $30,000, you can go to the Disputes Tribunal. Our website states:

“The Disputes Tribunal provides a way to resolve disputes that is quicker, less expensive and less formal than the District or High Court or arbitration.

“Hearings are private, there are no lawyers or judges, and members of the public and the media are not allowed into the hearing room.

“A trained referee hears about the dispute from all parties involved, and can make a binding order that can be enforced by the courts.”

Unfortunately, the decision made by the Disputes Tribunal cannot be enforced, but if the offending party does not adhere to the decision you can apply to the District Court.

This is a relatively inexpensive and straightforward process and application can be made online via the Ministry of Justice website.

If it is appropriate, the court could issue an attachment order, where money can be taken from wages, salary or benefit or, less often, a warrant to seize property.

For amounts over $30,000, you can apply to the District Court for a binding decision. Our website states:

“The District Court deals with most civil and criminal court cases. Civil claims for up to $350,000 are dealt with in the District Court.”

However, if you are making an application to the District Court, you should get a lawyer to help with your application as it can be a complex, costly, and time-consuming procedure.

If you have limited income and assets, you may be able to apply for legal aid.

Our website and associated links have extensive information on District Court procedures, as well as other commonly-used courts such as the Youth Court, Family Court, and Employment Court, and clients are welcome to drop into our office (9.30am-4pm Pakuranga, 9.30am-1pm Botany) to discuss options.

  • This Solutions Column has been compiled by Mary and is a regular editorial from the Pakuranga Citizens Advice Bureau. Email or visit us at the Library Building, Pakuranga, Phone 576 8331 and at Botany Citizens Advice Bureau, rear Food Court Entrance, Botany Town Centre, Phone 271 5382 , Text/Call WhatsApp 028 438 2188 or 0800 367 222 for free, confidential and informative help.

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