In another technological innovation, Courts Minister Chester Borrows today announced changes to allow the filing of Disputes Tribunal applications online, to commence 1 October 2012.
“The Disputes Tribunal is New Zealand’s most accessible forum for dealing with lower level disputes, but until now people have had to fill in forms by hand and post them or deliver them to the nearest District Court. This is not customer friendly, cost-effective, or an efficient way of working,” says Mr Borrows.
“While the internet has revolutionised the way we access services and information, our courts have been slow to join the rest of New Zealand in the online era. Today’s changes are just another step in plans to bring courts into the 21st century.”
The Disputes Tribunal provides a place for people to resolve disputes that is cheaper, faster, and less formal than the court system, and sees around 17,000 new applications each year. Applications to the tribunal cost between $36 and $121 depending on the value of the dispute, and can cover disputes up to $15,000, or up to $20,000 if both parties agree.
Mr Borrows also announced changes to improve the way Disputes Tribunal referees are appointed and reappointed to reduce the time and cost of appointments and attract a wider group of quality applicants. The key change is to allow referee positions to be advertised online, removing the requirement to advertise them in local newspapers.