On this page:
- Attending a Motor Vehicle Disputes Tribunal hearing
- Checklist of what to bring to a hearing
There are no lawyers or judges in Motor Vehicle Disputes Tribunal hearings unless they are one of the parties suing or being sued. The person in charge is called an ‘adjudicator’. That person is carefully selected and trained to help disputants either settle their disputes or otherwise make a determination. A ‘determination’ is a decision about the dispute about what should happen, like a judgment. See the part of this text about remedies in the Motor Vehicle Disputes Tribunal for more about the kinds of determinations you might expect.
See the chapter on appearing in a court for more about how your Motor Vehicle Disputes Tribunal hearing might play out and how you could go about presenting your case. However, keep in mind that a Motor Vehicle Disputes Tribunal hearing is generally less formal than a court hearing or trial, and that a Tribunal adjudicator may take on a more investigative role than you might expect of a judge. For instance, if the adjudicator considers he or she needs more information about the case than has been put forward at the hearing then the hearing might be adjourned so that the adjudicator could confer with an expert ‘assessor’ appointed to assist the adjudicator. They may even ask to take the vehicle at issue for a test drive.
Any attempt by an adjudicator to encourage the parties to settle is an additional factor that you would not ordinarily expect during a comparative hearing in a court. In that regard, see the chapter on settlements for more about settlements in general.
Checklist of what to bring to a hearing
It may be appropriate for you to bring the following items with you to a hearing in the Motor Vehicle Disputes Tribunal:
1. A copy of your application form.
2. Any synopsis of argument and bundle of documents you have prepared, as well as copies for the adjudicator and every other party if you have not already disclosed these.
3. Originals of the documents you are relying on as evidence (in addition to any copies or bundles of copied documents).
4. Any witnesses in support of your position.
5. Any (small and easily transportable) physical evidence that is not a document or a witness and may be helpful.
The adjudicator may give his or her decision at the end of the hearing or otherwise take some time to reflect and issue a written decision later on. That is called a ‘reserved’ decision.