On the court date - rental disputes

Arrive for the hearing on time or a little earlier. Let a court official know you are there, then go to the waiting room. Remain within hearing distance of the court room. If you are not there when your case is called, it could start without you and the magistrate might make an order which may not have been made if you had been there.

The registrar has authority to hear disputes if neither party objects.

Where only one party to a dispute attends court, the court can deal with the application without input from the absent party.

If both parties attend court, a conference may be held before the hearing. This is not compulsory and either party may choose to go straight to a full hearing.

Such a conference can be held to:

  • relax the parties;
  • shorten proceedings by defining the matters at issue;
  • resolve the matter, either partially or fully;
  • make any orders with the consent of both parties; and
  • advise the parties of the procedure in court, if the dispute is not resolved.

If the matter appears likely to be settled in this way, it is important to be aware what you are agreeing to. It is final and binding on both parties.

If the case is to be heard before a magistrate, when your case is called, enter the courtroom and take your place at either the applicant's or respondent's seat, as directed by the court usher.

The 'applicant' is the person who has asked the court to resolve the dispute. The other person is the 'respondent'. The court documents and records will show you as applicant or respondent as the case requires.

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