Please note: Articles on this website were originally published by in 2015 and may now be out of date. Revised and updated content is included in Civil Litigation for Non-Lawyers [available here]Disclaimer

On this page:

  • Progressing a claim in the Disputes Tribunal
  • Getting a claim form
  • Completing a claim form
  • Insurance
  • Filing a claim form
  • Claim form checklist
  • Acceptance, rejection or requisition by the Tribunal
  • Notice of hearing

Claims in the Disputes Tribunal begin when a claim form is filed together with the appropriate filing fee.

The amount of the filing fee depends on the value of the claim. The various filing fee amounts are set out in the Disputes Tribunals (Fees) Amendment Rules 2013:

$45 – For claims worth less than $2,000 in total

$90 – For claims worth $2,000 or more, but less than $5,000 in total

$180 – For claims worth $5,000 or more (but only up to the $15,000 or otherwise the $20,000 limit)

Getting a claim form

The Disputes Tribunal makes the claim form available from its website. You can even complete and submit a claim form online using that website.

You can contact your nearest District Court for a claim form if you cannot access the Disputes Tribunal website or have some other difficulty. The court staff can also help you to complete the form and might be able to answer queries you have about the form and the process.

Claim form example

Refer to the examples page for an example of a completed form and supplementary claim details form with submissions.

Completing a claim form

Claim forms ought to include:

1. Your name.

2. Your address.

3. A contact phone number that the Tribunal could reach you on between 8.30am and 5pm during weekdays.

4. The name of the party, or each party, that you are bringing your claim against.

5. A description of each party you are claiming against.

6. The street address of each party you are claiming against.

7. A postal address for each party you are claiming against (if known).

8. A phone number for each party you are claiming against (if known).

9. The name of your insurer (if you are insured for the kind of loss or damage that your claim is about).

10. The address of your insurer (if you are insured for the kind of loss or damage that your claim is about).

11. A description of the dispute, including:

11.1. the events that led to the dispute;

11.2. when those events happened;

11.3. where the events happened;

11.4. who was involved in the events and the dispute; and

 11.5. what loss was caused or damage done.

12. Your position on the dispute.

13. The reasons for why you have taken your position on the dispute.

14. A description of the things you have done to try to resolve the dispute.

15. A description of the other party’s position on the dispute, or the other parties’ positions if there is more than one other party involved.

16. Your signature.

17. The date you completed the claim form.

See those parts of this text dealing with statements of claim for more about how to go about explaining your claim.

You can also refer to the examples page for an example of a completed claim form and supplementary claim details form with submissions.


If you have insurance in relation to the loss or damage that you are claiming about, and if you have written the name and address of your insurance company in the claim form, then the Disputes Tribunal will notify your insurer of your claim. That is because your insurer might be entitled to participate in the case if it has or might have to pay you for whatever the case is about.

It might be for the best if you contacted your insurer before you begin any case in the Disputes Tribunal. Similarly, if a Disputes Tribunal case is made against you and you think you might have insurance cover, it might be appropriate to contact your insurer before taking any other action. In both cases, the suggestion to involve your insurer first and foremost is to try and avoid jeopardising your ability to claim insurance cover.

You can ask your insurer to give you a waiver if you do not want to make an insurance claim. You can download an insurance waiver form from the Disputes Tribunal website if you like.

Filing a claim form

There are 3 ways to file a claim form:

1. Online

 If you completed your claim form online then you should file it in accordance with the online instructions. See the Disputes Tribunal website for more about this.

2. In person

You can file the claim form (and filing fee) in person by dropping it off at the District Court closest to where you live.

Filing a claim in person could be worthwhile if you are unsure about some part of your claim or the filing fee that you need to pay: You could take the opportunity to raise your queries with court staff and perhaps correct some error there and then. However, keep in mind that you can telephone the court staff and ask questions. That might save you a trip if you have made some serious error.

You might have to file your claim at the ‘civil counter’ of the District Court you visit. Ask court staff about which counter you should file at and where it is if you are unsure. There are usually signs around the courthouse, possibly a directory and there may even be a help desk available.

Filing in person could also be of some benefit to you if you have never been to court before. Litigation can be stressful and people sometimes fear the unknown, so the hearing might be a bit less stressful for you if had already familiarised yourself with the courthouse.

You might also take the opportunity to watch a District Court case from the public   gallery to get a feel for how your Disputes Tribunal hearing might play out. District Courtrooms are normally open to the public and you can come in part way through and leave early if you like. The Disputes Tribunal, on the other hand, is usually closed to the public. See the part of this website on Disputes Tribunal hearings for more about this.

3. Post

You can post the claim form (and filing fee) to the Disputes Tribunal Central Processing Unit by DX (document exchange) mail. The mailing address is ‘DX SX 10042, Wellington.

Claim form checklist

The things you should have at the point you are filing your claim form are:

1. Completed claim form

2. A copy of the completed claim form to keep for yourself

3. Filing fee

4. Cover letter to go with the claim form (optional)

5. A copy of any cover letter to keep for yourself (optional)

Acceptance, rejection or requisition by the Tribunal

When the Disputes Tribunal receives a claim form it will make a decision about whether to accept it, reject it or require something to be done before accepting it. It could be that there is a jurisdictional issue or the wrong filing fee for example.

If the Tribunal rejects your claim or requires something more then it should contact you to let you know.

If the Tribunal accepts your claim then it will allocate a hearing date and send a notice of hearing and a copy of your claim form to the other party or parties involved. It will also send a notice of hearing to you and notify your insurer of your claim if you have included insurance details in your claim form. See the part about dealing with insurance issues above for more about insurance.

Notice of hearing

The notice of hearing should inform you of the date, time and place of the Disputes Tribunal hearing allocated for your case. It may also contain other information such as what you should bring to the hearing or file with the Tribunal beforehand. You should take care to meet any deadlines for filing things in the Tribunal. Also, keep in mind that you could contact the Tribunal with any questions or issues you may have about the hearing or what you need to do to get your case ready.

Note: This content was originally published by in 2015. Disclaimer