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You are here: Home Hearing process Decision in your favour

Decision in your favour

Printable version: If a decision is in your favour (PDF, 500KB)

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Decisions in your favour

At the end of the hearing the referee will make a decision based on the law and the facts if the parties haven't been able to reach a satisfactory agreement. This decision is binding on the parties. Referees will provide written reasons for their decisions.

The Tribunal won't check to see if the order has been complied with. It's up to the parties to arrange between themselves for the order to be carried out.

Make sure you have the other party’s correct details such as their:

  • address (work and at home)
  • phone numbers
  • details of any vehicles they own.

Note: It’s your responsibility to get this information. The Tribunal won’t trace the person for you. Information about how to contact the person will be very important if you need to have the decision enforced.

If the other party has been ordered to do something:

The other party may have been ordered to pay money or deliver specific property to you, or there may have been an agreed settlement between the parties.

The Tribunal’s decision will set out clearly details such as how much has to be paid or what property is to be returned, and by when.

If the Tribunal’s decision concerns the payment of money it is up to the other party to pay you. If a date for payment is included in the decision, you can’t demand the money to be paid immediately.

What you can do is encourage the other party to follow the order and remind them of their obligations and what may happen if they don’t comply with the order.

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If orders are not followed

Where you have obtained a court order in your favour the debtor is expected to voluntarily comply with the court order. If voluntary compliance does not occur, your options are to:

  • Apply to the District Court to enforce the court order.
  • Hire a debt collection agency to collect the debt on your behalf. They may charge a set fee or a percentage of the debt.
  • Instruct a solicitor to act on your behalf – a formal letter from a solicitor may be enough to get the debtor to pay or return property to you.

A Disputes Tribunal order cannot be enforced until the deadline in the decision has passed. 

The Tribunal may have ordered the other party to carry out a piece of work (for example, completing repairs). If they have not done so by the deadline, you can apply to the Disputes Tribunal to order that the other party pay you money instead. Use the form Request to enforce work order (PDF, 770KB) (for an order) or Request to enforce part of agreed settlement (PDF, 1.2MB) (for an agreed settlement). 

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Enforcing an order through the District Court

In the civil enforcement system it is one of the parties – almost always the creditor or their agent – that must initiate the enforcement of the court order in the District Court. You will need to supply certain details about the debtor for enforcement action to take place.

There are filing fees for all enforcement applications in the District Court. If you file an application to enforce a Disputes Tribunal order, the fee is not paid upfront and is instead added to the debt owed by the debtor.

There are a number of different enforcement options available to you to obtain resolution of your civil debt quickly and cheaply. Application forms and information about the different civil enforcement options are available at the Ministry of Justice's civil debt page.

Some of the most commonly used enforcement options are:

Application for attachment order

If you know that the debtor is employed or receiving a benefit, the court can order that payments be deducted directly from the debtor's income and paid to you. This is known as an attachment order.

This option allows you to obtain an attachment order without a financial assessment or further court hearing. The key details you need to provide are the debtor’s employer details and their date of birth, and the amount to be deducted from the debtor’s income. If the debtor is on a benefit, you need to provide their date of birth or a benefit number.

Note: Once the attachment order is set up it is your responsibility to monitor the payments. The District Court does not check if payments are made.

Application for assessment of financial means

If you cannot apply directly for an attachment order and you do not want to attend a court hearing, you can apply for the court to conduct a financial assessment by phone of the debtor’s means. If the financial assessment cannot be completed the court can order a hearing. You are not able to attend the hearing if one is ordered.

The key details you need to supply are the debtor’s phone number and current address.

Warrant to seize property

You can apply to the District Court for the bailiff to seize property owned by the debtor (such as a vehicle). You will need to supply the debtor’s address (preferably a home address) and information to support that the debtor owns any property specified. For more information on this option, see the civil debt website.

Where can I find more information?

To find out more about taking enforcement action and filing an application, you can:

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