RTB Dispute Resolution Services and Covid-19

The RTB is processing dispute resolution applications in a number of ways at present in order to maintain our services while aiming to be as flexible and accessible as possible.

Telephone Mediation

Telephone Mediation remains a free, effective and prompt way for resolving disputes and this method of dispute resolution has not been affected by Covid-19. You can find out more information about telephone mediation here.

Adjudications

Adjudication as a means of dispute resolution is proceeding through a number of channels at present. Where appropriate, and where public health measures allow, the RTB can cater to a limited number of face to face Adjudication hearings. Regardless of the delivery channel, Adjudication is a private and confidential process.

Paper-based Adjudications

Since March, the large majority of dispute applications have been resolved through a paper-based process. In such instances, case parties are invited to submit evidence and make submissions which will be considered by the independent Adjudicator. The Adjudicator may seek additional information or documents if they feel it is necessary.

Virtual hearings

The RTB is now holding Dispute Resolution hearings virtually. We are making this change to provide a flexible and accessible service to our customers and to comply with all Covid-19 restrictions. Over the coming weeks and months, we will expand the availability of virtual hearings. Customers apply for dispute resolution with the RTB in the usual way and virtual hearings are offered as an option at the assessment stage.

Virtual hearings will take place online through Microsoft Teams. Evidence can be submitted in the normal way for virtual hearings and we will provide Case Parties with as much information and support as needed to ensure they are comfortable accessing the hearing. The procedures for a virtual hearing are very similar to those for a face to face hearing. Case Parties will still have a chance to speak directly to the Adjudicator and explain their issues. A Case Party can appoint a representative to act on their behalf, but Adjudications are not open to members of the public or observers.

Virtual hearings are:

  • Safe: You can avoid increased social contacts and any risk associated with attending a face to face hearing. This is particularly important for vulnerable groups and case parties travelling from other parts of the country.
  • Secure: An Adjudication hearing is private and confidential to the parties involved. Virtual hearings are secure, and no additional personal details are gathered. All personal data is protected. For information on how the RTB handle your personal data, please refer to the RTB Privacy Statement at www.rtb.ie/privacy-statement.
  • Legally robust: Virtual hearings have been provided for in law. The disputes process remains unchanged. The Adjudicator will consider all evidence submitted in advance alongside information provided at the hearing.
  • Efficient: A virtual hearing is an efficient replacement for face to face hearings. Face to face hearings may not be able to take place at all, or in very limited numbers, depending on the public health guidelines and restrictions in place.
  • Accessible: You can join the hearing by clicking directly on a link emailed to you. If you do not have a laptop or computer, a dial-in option can be provided to phone into the hearing.

There is no prescribed list of evidence that a case party must submit however the RTB has produced a Guide to Evidence which you may wish to review. All Case Parties receive this guide which outlines the types of evidence that parties may wish to submit. If evidence is submitted (in good time) it will be circulated to all other case parties. The right to appeal the outcome of the Adjudication remains unchanged.

Tribunals

The right to appeal the outcome of an Adjudication remains unchanged. On foot of an appeal, a Tribunal will be scheduled to take place as soon as possible. A Tribunal Hearing may be held virtually as outlined above. Where appropriate, and where public health measures allow, the RTB can cater to a limited number of Tribunal hearings in our Dublin office.

This webpage will continue to be updated to reflect the latest information. This information is correct as of 12 November 2020.