The Disputes Tribunal is currently seeking expressions of interest in the role of Disputes Tribunal Referee for the Wellington region. The Disputes Tribunal is a division of the District Court, and currently hears a range of civil claims up to a value of $30,000.00. Most of our disputes involve contract and consumer issues, but we also deal with other civil matters, such as car accidents, or claims in negligence causing damage to property. Referees are appointed as judicial officers by warrant from the Governor-General on the advice of the Minister of Justice. The role is part time, and generally involves 2-4 days a week of hearings, depending on caseflows.
The Disputes Tribunal is becoming increasingly central in the delivery of civil justice and a further increase in jurisdiction is possible. Referees are required to conduct hearings which take place at the local District Court building. During the hearing, the Referee assesses whether the parties can come to an agreement about their dispute. If not, the Referee makes a decision in the matter. This decision is provided in writing, with reasons, and has the status of a District Court order. As a judicial officer working in a Tribunal setting, you would need to have strong legal and analytical abilities, hold relevant qualifications in law, mediation or arbitration, and enjoy working with people from all walks of life to help them resolve their differences. If you are new to the role, full training is provided.
It is important that the membership of the Tribunal reflects the community, and to that end we seek applications from people of diverse backgrounds, ethnicities and age groups. The Tribunal is also committed to providing a service that reflects the principles of Te Tiriti, and to ensuring that the Tribunal is a place where all people feel welcomed and supported.
Successful candidates will show abilities in listening, assessing information, making decisions, relating to and communicating with a wide variety of people, responding sensitively to cultural differences, expressing themselves clearly, and be able to engage in alternative ways of resolving disputes. A Referee also needs to show common sense and practical judgement and must be able to act with fairmindedness and impartiality. The full criteria for assessment are set out in R38 of the Disputes Tribunal Rules 1989.
Referees are currently paid $530.00 a day under the Cabinet Fees Framework. However, the Tribunal has been included in the latest Remuneration Authority Bill which has just been introduced to Parliament. If enacted, this will change the basis of the pay.
Any person within the community may nominate you for the role. Nominations must be sent in writing or by email. They must contain the name, address, telephone number and email address of both the nominator and the person being nominated. Once a nomination has been received, the person who is nominated will be sent an application pack with details relating to the position and how to apply for it.
Nominations are to be made to the Principal Disputes Referee:
Post: DX SX 11159, Wellington
Ph: (04) 914 3131
Nominations must be received by this office no later than Friday, 30 December 2022. Late nominations will not be accepted.