On the court date - rental disputes

Arrive for court before the listed hearing time. Let the court orderly located in the courtroom know you are there and follow their direction for where you are to wait. A hearing can proceed without you if you do not show up or if the orderly does not know you are there.

There may be other matters listed at the same time as your hearing, so you may need to be patient and account for extra time.

If only one party is present, the matters may proceed in the absence of the other party.

Although proceedings in the Magistrates Court are relatively informal, certain rules must be observed.

The court will likely attempt to manage your case through a pre-trial conference with a registrar instead of going straight to trial. If the matter is likely to be settled in this way, it is important to be aware that any settlement reached is final and binding on both parties.

The court will send you a copy of any orders made after the conference.

Generally the court will not award costs apart from the fee required to start an application.

An order made by a registrar can be appealed using either of the following forms from the Magistrates Court:

  • Application to vary or set aside order (Form 16) (residential tenancies forms) if a party was absent when the order was made; or
  • Appeal against registrar’s decision (Form 1B) (Magistrates Court (General) Rules 2005 forms) if the party was present when the order was made.

Witnesses are not required for hearings other than trial hearings.

For an overview of the whole court process, see Appendix 10: Going to court – Residential tenancy disputes.

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