Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

Call For Disputes Tribunal Fees To Be Scrapped

Citizens Advice Bureau Calls For Disputes Tribunal Fees To Be Scrapped

People will miss out on justice if the Government increases courts fees, the New Zealand Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux (CAB) warned today. CAB has advised the Government to put society's access to justice ahead of any new scheme of cost recovery for the Courts, and has specifically called for the abolition of Disputes Tribunal fees.

In a submission to the Courts' Department CAB has told the Government that court fees create a barrier to society's access to justice.

"In our experience, people are not getting justice because they cannot afford it. Instead of finding ways to recover Court costs by increasing fees the Government should be scrapping Disputes Tribunal fees and introducing ways of ensuring no one in society misses out on using the Courts when they need to. CAB is asking the Government to abolish the Disputes Tribunal fees to make sure that everyone is able to get their smaller scale civil disputes heard.

"The Government discovered for themselves in a very dramatic way that the level of fees has a direct impact on determining access to the courts. When the Disputes Tribunal fees were put up from $10 to $30 for claims under $1000, the number of cases taken to the Tribunal decreased by over 10% in the first six months. Many people, specifically those on low incomes, could not afford to take their cases to the Tribunal and these people were missing out on getting justice," says New Zealand Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux chief executive, Mr Nick Toonen.

The Government is considering ways of recovering costs in the Courts system, but the CAB says this could put barriers in the way of people getting justice in civil disputes.

"We acknowledge that there are some areas where fees could be charged without impacting on peoples' access to justice, but there are other vital areas in the courts' system where all barriers to individuals getting justice must be removed.

"The Disputes Tribunal is one of these areas. It was set up to provide a cheap and effective resolution service for people with disputes under $7,500, without the need for lawyers to get involved.

"In our experience, many people with very legitimate cases, such as being ripped off by a tradesperson or retailer, have not been able to get things put right because they cannot afford to go to court. For example, if a person has saved to buy a $300 vacuum cleaner that breaks down, and the retailer won't replace or repair it, the purchaser will then have to spend 10% of the cost of the vacuum cleaner to have their case heard in the Disputes Tribunal. If they cannot afford that fee, then the retailer gets away with it, and will probably continue to ignore their obligations to future customers", says Mr Toonen.

/end

For more information contact: Nick Toonen, Chief Executive Officer, phone (04) 382 8759, (021) 135 6085

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

The New Zealand Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux provides a free national service to all individuals of impartial and confidential information, advice and support, and makes responsible use of the experience so gained.

There are 91 Citizens Advice Bureaux throughout the country, handling over half a million enquiries each year. In these bureaux over 2,700 trained volunteers take time to listen, offer options of relevant services and information, and, as necessary, work with clients to identify an effective course of action.

Over the past 2 years CAB dealt with: * 8,000 enquiries about the courts and justice system (excluding the Disputes Tribunal) * 7,000 enquiries about the Disputes Tribunal (this does not include enquiries about the Maori Land Court, Waitangi Tribunal or Motor Vehicle Disputes Tribunal) * 32,000 enquiries about breakdown of relationships, including custody and access, matrimonial property, separation and dissolution of marriage issues; many of these involving the Family Court.

In addition to these: * Over 10 percent of our annual enquiries (which totalled 580,000 in 1999-2000) are consumer related and for a good proportion of these the Disputes Tribunal is an important avenue of redress. * Over the past 2 years bureaux provided free legal advice or referrals to over 30,000 clients, and a good proportion of these will have led to the client using various tribunals to resolve their dispute.

Through the Department for Courts, the Government is consulting on a discussion document on equitable fees in civil courts.

For a copy of the New Zealand Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux submission on this discussion document please contact Ross Bell, Social Policy & Information Officer, phone (04) 382 8759, (025) 294 9722, PO Box 9777, Wellington.


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Scoop Covid-19 Coverage: Auckland To Remain At Level 3 Restrictions, Rest Of NZ At 2 For 12 More Days


Auckland will remain at level three restrictions and the rest of the country at level two for 12 more days Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced.
She said this would be reviewed on August 21, but there was no indication yet anywhere was required to go to level four restrictions.
Ardern said a good start had been made in stamping out the infections associated with the Auckland family cluster and it appeared it had been picked up early. There was still no certainty about where the virus had come from, but it appeared to be new to New Zealand and not a sign the virus was dormant.... More>>

 

Government: Plan To Tackle Problem Plastics

Following the success of the phase out of single-use plastic shopping bags, the Government now has plans to phase out more single-use and problem plastics to reduce waste and protect the environment announced Associate Minister for the Environment ... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The New Lockdowns, Leadership And Lebanon

As Melbourne has shown, the webs of urban life overlap so extensively that community transmission can be very hard to trace, let alone control. Each of the family members in the South Auckland family at the centre of the current outbreak will have had ... More>>


ALSO:

National: Emma Mellow As Auckland Central Candidate

Tonight the National Party has selected Emma Mellow to stand in the Auckland Central electorate for the 2020 General Election. Emma Mellow replaces retiring MP Nikki Kaye who first won the seat from Labour in 2008. Emma leads a team of communications ... More>>

ALSO:

Travel: Update On New Zealand And The Cook Islands Bubble

The Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern and the Prime Minister of the Cook Islands Henry Puna have welcomed the completion of phase one in the establishment of a travel bubble between New Zealand and the Cook Island. More>>

Election 2020: Labour Launch

E ngā mana e ngā reo Ngāti whātua ngā mana whenua o Tāmaki Makaurau, e tika te kōrero Ehara taku toa he toa (taki tahi) he toa (taki tini) No rēira tātou e huihui mai nei, ka ‘Hoake tonu tātou’ Thank you for that welcome. And thank ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Political Twins, And On Labour Extending Its Wage Subsidy Scheme

A quick quiz for the weekend. Which political party currently represented in Parliament issued a press release yesterday that contained these stirring passages: “[We have] long supported a free trade and free movement area between Canada, Australia, New ... More>>

ALSO:

Democracy 2.0: NextElection Partners With Scoop For Exciting Democracy Tech

Joint Press Release: NextElection, Scoop.co.nz, ScoopCitizen NextElection , a technology platform empowering democracy and Government accountability, and Scoop Independent News have partnered to strengthen citizen participation in the 2020 New Zealand General ... More>>

ALSO:


Covid-19: Poll On Management Approval

New Zealanders’ overall trust in the Ministry of Health and Government to manage the COVID-19 pandemic is at 82%, down from 91% during April. Overall distrust that the Ministry and Government will manage it in ways which best protect themselves More>>

Election 2020: National Releases 2020 Party List

National’s 2020 Party List is a strong mix of experience coming up through our Caucus, and new and exciting talent joining our team from communities across New Zealand, Party President Peter Goodfellow says. “The National Party is incredibly ... More>>

Horizon Research Limited: How Judith Collins Stopped The Bleeding

Horizon Research includes questions on voting from time to time in its surveys – for both forthcoming referenda and general elections. More>>

Your Vote 2020: Bringing Election Coverage To Viewers Across TVNZ Channels And Platforms

As New Zealand gets ready to head to the ballot box this September, 1 NEWS is bringing voters comprehensive coverage and analysis of this year’s General Election. TVNZ’s coverage will draw on the depth of experience held across the 1 NEWS team, says Graeme ... More>>

Economy: 30% Believe Households Worse Off, 298,000 Expect To Lose Jobs

64% of New Zealanders feel the economic position of their households is the same or better than a year ago – and 30% think it is worse or much worse, while 298,000 think they will lose their jobs in the next 12 months. Households’ perceptions ... More>>

State Services Commission: Findings Of Investigation Into COVID-19 Active Cases Privacy Breach

Deputy State Services Commissioner Helene Quilter has today announced the findings of an investigation into a breach of privacy regarding sensitive personal information. The investigation looked into who or what caused the disclosure of the information, ... More>>

International Security: New Zealand Suspends Extradition Treaty With Hong Kong

The New Zealand Government has suspended its extradition treaty with Hong Kong and made a number of other changes in light of China’s decision to pass a national security law for Hong Kong, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says. More>>

ALSO:


 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 


 

InfoPages News Channels