If you're making a claim for your leaky property through dispute resolution, this information sheet will give you details about the adjudication process through the Weathertight Homes Tribunal.
Adjudication is undertaken by the Weathertight Homes Tribunal through the Ministry of Justice. It is a judicial process in which an independent person (the Tribunal Member) determines the parties’ dispute.
If you have a lower-value claim, adjudication can only be initiated after informal resolution methods have been tried, such as negotiation and mediation. This is to ensure the process is cost-effective for everyone involved.
You will need to apply to the Tribunal if you wish to take your claim to adjudication. Your application must include a certificate from the Chief Executive of MBIE to confirm you have made reasonable attempts to resolve the claim through negotiation and mediation.
You will not be given a certificate if there is belief you could still reach settlement through negotiation or mediation, and until they are re-attempted.
How the Tribunal works
In most cases the Tribunal will deal with lower-value claims on paper only with no formal hearing taking place.
The Tribunal will manage the claim as efficiently as possible to limit costs to all parties. After you and the other parties have put forward your cases, the Tribunal will make a binding decision according to law.
You have a right of appeal to the District Court if you feel the decision is not correct.
Once the process has begun, certain stages have time limits. It will generally take longer to get through the adjudication process than through mediation.
The Tribunal has considerable powers. They may, among other things:
- request additional information or submissions
- order people to become parties if they think it is desirable
- ask for additional documents
- appoint experts or carry out visits of the building concerned
- decide that a particular party must pay costs and expenses in limited circumstances.
You and other parties to the adjudication must comply with any request or direction from the Tribunal.
The Tribunal will make a decision on the information provided to them. It will state which parties are liable and what remedies there should be.
This decision must be treated as an order of the District Court and may be directly enforced in the same way as a District Court order.
Making an application
MBIE will give you an application form to apply to the Tribunal once the Chief Executive has given you a certificate confirming you have attempted negotiation and/or mediation.
Your claims advisor will help you complete the application form.
You must serve the application form and the documents on the Tribunal and on the respondents you have named.
A copy of your assessor's report must be served along with the application. The application form will give you details of other documents you need to serve.
Your legal advisor can undertake this service for you. If you do not have one, your claims advisor can also provide you with guidance on how to undertake this process and on finding appropriate addresses for the respondents.
- A document is served if it is:
- delivered to that person
- left at that person’s usual or last known place of residence or business in New Zealand
- posted in a letter addressed to that person at that person’s place of residence or business in New Zealand.
The Tribunal may require proof of service. You should have a record of who was served, what address they were served at and what was served.
You can do this by having the documents couriered and keeping the tracking label. You should also take copies or photographs of the courier packet once it is addressed to show exactly what address the documents were sent to.
If you choose to send them by normal post you should also keep copies of the original documents and the addressee list.
You need to make sure you made good quality copies of the documents for service, especially for any reports with photographs detailing damage.
Serving on addresses
You must serve the documents on physical addresses where you can, and not PO boxes.
You need to obtain the consent of the respondent concerned before service occurs, if you plan on serving to an email address.
You can apply to the Tribunal for permission to undertake substituted service if you cannot find an address for a party, but you know of a family member or associate that knows their whereabouts.
Weathertight Homes Tribunal on the Ministry of Justice website has more information.