Increase to the Disputes Tribunal Threshold

Increase to the Disputes Tribunal Threshold

On 29 October 2019 the financial jurisdiction of the Disputes Tribunal was increased to $30,000. Previously the Disputes Tribunal could only deal with disputes up to $15,000 or less, or up to $20,000 if all parties agree. The Associate Justice Minister, Aupito William Sio said that the change is so disputes can be resolved in a less expensive, simple and quick manner.

Other changes to the Disputes Tribunal include:

  • A party will only be able to have one Disputes Tribunal re-hearing unless a Disputes Tribunal referee considers that it is in the interests of justice to have more than one.
  • The timeframe for filing an appeal to a Disputes Tribunal hearing decision in the District Court has now been reduced from 28 days to 20 working days.
  • The fine for failing to give evidence has increased from $500 to $1000.

We consider the increase to the Disputes Tribunal Financial Jurisdiction a good thing.  It is often uneconomic for clients to engage lawyers or proceed to court where the amount under dispute is $30,000. The changes to Disputes Tribunal threshold should give more people access to justice.

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