This page contains examples of cases progressed through the High Court and Disputes Tribunal of New Zealand.

Please note: Content on this page was originally published by and may now be out of date.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

High Court: Hill v Anderson

Download the High Court Statement of Claim here.

Download the High Court Synopsis of Argument here.

This is a fictional case involving a claim for payment of a loan agreement. The defendant asserted the loan agreement was not enforceable due to non-compliance with the Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance Act 2003. The plaintiff responded that legislation did not apply.

This example is as simplistic as possible so that all components involved are made as clear as can be. The documents for the plaintiff are written as though the plaintiff is representing himself. That would be unusual for a High Court claim by a solvent plaintiff, and not recommended. However, the documents become less complicated, and therefore easier to follow, by writing them in this way.

The synopsis of argument uses the ‘F.I.L.A.C.’ structure for submissions (Facts, Issues, Law, Application, Conclusion). For more on synopses of submissions and the ‘F.I.L.A.C.’ structure see Preparing submissions for a High Court trial.

The synopsis of argument also refers to a bundle of documents containing various items of evidence. Those items are:

  1. The loan agreement at issue in this example
  2. Bank statements showing funds paid and received
  3. A personal guarantee said to have motivated the loan at issue
  4. A further loan agreement said to have motivated the loan at issue

A separate memorandum calculating interest and costs is also referred to in the synopsis of argument. That would be helpful so that the Judge who hears the case knows exactly what is being claimed by way of interest and costs. The costs involved in this case would be disbursements like Court filing fees and service agents’ fees only, because in this fictional example the plaintiff is representing himself. Again, it is emphasised the self-representation in the High Court is not recommended. 

Disputes Tribunal: Dillon v PB Technologies (Down Town) Limited

Download the Disputes Tribunal Claim Details Document here.

Download the Disputes Tribunal Exhibits here.

Download the Disputes Tribunal Decision here.

This is a real case concerning a claim for a refund and damages upon the failure of a Microsoft Surface Pro 2 tablet. The claim relied on the guarantee of reasonable quality provided for by the Consumer Guarantees Act 1993. It was contended that the Surface tablet was not sufficiently durable because it completely failed within 2 years and 3 months of purchase. A remedy was required of the retailer that sold the tablet, but none was forthcoming. The retailer asserted that the Surface tablet failed 3 months after a warranty period expired, and did not engage with any claim concerning the Consumer Guarantees Act or provide a remedy in accordance with that legislation. The dispute was brought before the Disputes Tribunal and the claim was upheld. A refund of the purchase price of the tablet and damages associated with the failure were ordered to be paid.

This case exemplifies why warranties are generally worthless to “consumers” as defined by the Consumer Guarantees Act in New Zealand. Retailers cannot escape the guarantees imposed by that Act except in specific circumstances that do not tend to apply to consumers who purchase things for their personal household or domestic use. Consequently, warranties do not tend to afford any additional protection to what is already provided by the Consumer Guarantees Act.

If you are a “consumer” and someone offers to sell you a warranty for a time that is shorter than you would expect a product to last for, then you might actually be being asked to pay extra for protection you would be getting anyway. Similarly, if a personal possession breaks and a retailer denies it has to do anything about it because a warranty has expired, then that retailer could be wrong. That was the case in this example.

The evidence in this case included:

1. Receipts as proof of purchases and prices.

2. A description of how the Surface tablet was used, including a photograph of the case it was carried in and a denial of any act or event that could have caused it to fail.

3. A description of durability expectations of the Surface tablet and the reasons for those expectations. This included corroborating evidence of the claim it was marketed as “the tablet that can replace your laptop” and an internet chat discussion with a Microsoft sales representative about the durability of Surface tablets. The tablets offered for sale on the Microsoft website at the time of that chat discussion did not include the Surface Pro 2.

4. A description of the nature of the failure of the Surface tablet. It was described as a complete failure because it would not turn on. A red light would blink when the power button was pressed, but the Surface tablet would do little more than that.

5. A description of dealings with the retailer about the failure of the Surface tablet, including demands for a remedy under the Consumer Guarantees Act and then a demand for a refund and payment of damages.

In the course of the Disputes Tribunal hearing the representative of the retailer said the motherboard of the Surface tablet had failed and replacement parts were not available to fix it. Further, the representative said there was a chance further damage could be done to the Surface tablet if an attempt were made to replace the failed parts. He said the Surface tablet would have to be opened up, and the screen could crack if that were attempted.

The claim was successful upon the Disputes Tribunal finding that the Surface tablet was not sufficiently durable and the losses associated with the failure were proved.

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