The Dispute Tribunal Option

ADR? ">What is the ADR?
The Disputes Tribunal is a place where disputes are settled simply. The tribunal holds a hearing where a referee takes charge and the parties present their cases. The referee will help you and the other party to reach an agreement. If you cannot agree then the referee will look at the law and the facts of the case and arrive at a decision.

ADR process?">Who should look at using the ADR process?
Anyone can make a claim, even if they have agreed not to or where a contract says 'No responsibility accepted'. The tribunal will deal with disputes between private individuals as well as businesses.

Why use the Disputes Tribunal option?
The Disputes Tribunal provides a way for settling claims or disputes faster and at a lower cost than by using the normal court system. It used to be called the "Small Claims Tribunal" which was focused on all claims involving small amounts of money. The Disputes Tribunal is laid back and informal. Both parties present their cases in their own words and with their own evidence (without lawyers present) before an independent person known as a "referee" who hears the arguments and makes a ruling or decision. There is no judge or jury as it is not a Court of Law.

What Claims will the Tribunal hear from you?

  • Whether work has been done properly - eg, whether professional wedding photographs are of an acceptable standard.

  • Whether the goods you paid for were the goods you asked for - eg, when your sofa is covered in fabric different from the fabric you ordered.

  • Whether the amount to be charged for goods or for work done is much higher than the quote you were given - eg, the final bill to repair your bike is higher than the quote given to you.

  • Whether a trader is liable when your property goes missing while it is in for repairs.

  • Whether advertising claims are false or misleading and you suffer loss or damage as a result - eg, when an advertisement makes you think a CD player is included in the price of a stereo system when in fact it is an extra cost.

  • Where there has been a breach of the Hire Purchase or Credit Contracts Acts.

  • To enforce your rights under the Consumer Guarantee Act

What Claims won't the Tribunal hear from you?
The tribunal will not deal with matters that do not involve a dispute. It only hears disputes. That's why it is called the "Disputes Tribunal".

For example:

  • If you are a "debtor" and owe someone money and the dispute is simply that you don't want to pay the bill then the Tribunal will not grant you a hearing because the matter is not an honest dispute.

  • If you are "creditor" owed money by someone ("the debtor") and you wish to recover that debt and the debtor does not deny that you are owed the money, then there is no "dispute" to be dealt with.

  • It will not act as a form of collection agency.

  • It will not hear disputes about wills or land or family-law issues such as matrimonial property or custody of children.

Is there a Time Limit for making Claims?

There is a time limit for bringing a claim to the tribunal. They will not hear a claim concerning things that happened more than 6 years before.