On this page:

  • Preparing for a Tenancy Tribunal hearing
  • Witnesses
  • Lawyers and representatives
  • Support people
  • Interpreters
  • Appearing by telephone

You should prepare a written synopsis of your argument to refer to at the hearing. Think of it as a kind of road map for what you want to cover. See those parts of this text dealing with synopses of submissions for how you might go about preparing a synopsis.

You might have already submitted copies of relevant documents when you submitted your claim but, if you have not done so or think you should include more, then you might want to prepare a bundle of documents. See those parts of this text dealing with discovery and bundles of documents for more about the kinds of documents that could be relevant and how you might submit them in a bundle of documents.

Keep in mind that you should take duplicate bundles or copies of documents with you to the hearing: A copy for yourself, one for the Tribunal and a copy for every other party for the case. Keep the original documents separate, and take them to the hearing with you also just in case their authenticity is questioned or there is some problem with your copies.

Witnesses

You may need witnesses to give evidence in support of your case at the hearing. In that case you will need to organise your witnesses before the hearing. You should speak to potential witnesses to find out what they have to say.

Contact Tenancy Services if you are planning to bring any witnesses so that they can pass that on to the Tribunal before the hearing. You should also consider applying for a witness summons requiring your witnesses to come to the hearing. A summons can be particularly helpful if you need someone to give evidence in your case but who refuses to attend the hearing and act as your witness.

If, for whatever reason, a witness of yours cannot attend the Tribunal hearing, then you might be able to have affidavits, statements or letters by the witness admitted as evidence instead. You could call Tenancy Services to discuss this prospect on 0800 TENANCY (0800 83 62 62). Note, however, that those documents might not be regarded with the same level of credibility as the witness might if he or she actually showed up to the hearing.

Witnesses are ordinarily required to wait outside the courtroom where the hearing is taking place until it is their turn to give evidence, be cross-examined and re-examined where appropriate. See those parts of this text dealing with witnesses on trial for more about giving evidence, cross-examination and re-examination generally.

Lawyers and representatives

The general expectation is that you will attend a Tenancy Tribunal hearing and represent yourself, although lawyers and representatives are allowed in some circumstances. Section 93 of the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 provides:

(1)       At any hearing before the Tribunal, every party shall be entitled to attend and be heard, to call evidence, and to examine, cross-examine, and re-examine witnesses.

(2)       Except as provided in the succeeding provisions of this section, no party shall be entitled to be represented at the hearing by counsel or by a representative, except where –

(a)       the other party consents; or

(b)       the amount in dispute exceeds $6,000; or

(c)        the other party is, or the other party’s case is being conducted by, the chief executive acting under section 124.

(3)       The Tribunal may allow any party to be represented by counsel if it considers that it would be appropriate to do so, having regard to –

(a)       the nature and complexity of the issues involved; or

(b)       any significant disparity between the parties affecting their ability to represent their respective cases.

(4)       Where any party to any proceedings before the Tribunal is represented by counsel, any other party to those proceedings may be represented by counsel.

[…]

Support people

You can take a friend or family member with you for support, but a support person cannot be a witness or say anything at the hearing unless asked by the Tenancy Adjudicator.

Interpreters

If you think you might need an interpreter for the hearing then you should contact Tenancy Services about that as soon as possible. An independent interpreter may be able to be arranged to attend the hearing with you, but it is something that you need to raise well before the hearing day.

You may be required to make an application for an interpreter in writing, such as by a letter or an email. Generally, your application might include:

1. Details of your particular case in the Tenancy Tribunal, such as:

1.1.      The location or ‘registry’ of the Tribunal that is dealing with your case.

1.2.      Any reference number that the Tribunal has assigned to your case (if known).

1.3.      Who the parties to the case are.

2. Details of the hearing, such as:

2.1.      The date and time when the hearing will take place.

2.2.      The location where the hearing will take place.

2.3.      The name of the Referee who will hear the case (if known).

3. That you are making an application for an interpreter to assist you at the hearing, and the language that the interpreter would need to know in order to properly assist you.

4. Your name, and clearly identifying that it is you who is making the application.

5. The reasons why you are making the application, and the reasons why it should be granted. That Mandarin is your first language for example, that you do not feel you have a good understanding of English and that you are concerned that you might not properly communicate what you want to say or understand what is said to you.

6. Your contact details.

Appearing by telephone

Another thing that you might need to organise before the hearing is whether you can attend by telephone instead of being there in person. This might be appropriate where you are overseas or otherwise live far away from where the hearing will take place.

You should contact Tenancy Services if you are interested to attend the hearing by telephone. You should make contact as soon as possible to ensure the matter is dealt with before the hearing day.

You may be asked to make a written application for leave to attend by telephone. Generally, your application should include:

1. Details of your particular case in the Tenancy Tribunal, such as:

1.1.      The location or ‘registry’ of the Tribunal that is dealing with your case.

1.2.      Any reference number that the Tribunal has assigned to your case (if known).

1.3.      Who the parties to the case are.

2. Details of the hearing, such as:

2.1.      The date and time when the hearing will take place.

2.2.      The location where the hearing will take place.

2.3.      The name of the Tenancy Adjudicator who will hear the case (if known).

3. That you are making an application to appear at the hearing by telephone.

4. Your name, and clearly identifying that it is you who is making the application.

5. The reasons why you are making the application, and the reasons why it should be granted. For example, that you live overseas and that it would not be practical if you were required to travel to attend the hearing in person, or that the costs would be prohibitive.

6. Your contact details, including the phone number that the Tenancy Tribunal could reach you on if your application were granted.

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