Documentation, case preparation and evidence

While preparing a case, it is important to present the information in a clear and comprehensive way.

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How do I prepare my case?

An important factor in preparing acase for presentation to the Tribunal is to arrange the facts of the dispute in  chronological order, and to make sure the information is presented in an understandable and straight-forward way. To assist the Tribunal, documentation and evidence submitted should be clearly categorised and a cover note setting out the contents should be attached. Numerous documents should be bound, where possible, with page numbers. Five identical copies should be sent to the RTB as soon as possible, at the latest 5 days before the hearing is scheduled. It is at the discretion of the Tribunal whether they will submit documentation submitted after the deadline. 

 

Should documentation be submitted prior to the hearing?

A copy of all evidence should be submitted to the RTB at least 5 days before the hearing.. These documents may consist of invoices, photographs, bank statements, the tenancy/lease agreement (s), Notice of Termination etc.

All submissions of evidence relevant to the case will be copied over to the other party. Documentation of no relevance to the tenancy in question should not be submitted and will not be copied to the Tribunal unless you can show the relevance of the evidence submitted. Documents marked “without prejudice” will not be circulated. For more information on evidence, please click here

 

What documentation may not be permitted into evidence?

The relevance of the documentation to the tenancy/dispute is the primary issue to bear in mind when submitting documentation. Specified documentation may not be permitted into evidence if it is not appropriate or relevant to the dispute. Please note that information/documentation submitted, including correspondence addressed to the RTB, will be circulated to all parties to the dispute, to include representatives, as well as the Tribunal. The onus is on the parties to remove or redact any information that they do not want to be circulated. Documentation of no relevance to the tenancy in question should not be submitted. Documentation that is not being circulated will not be held on file and will be immediately returned to the party submitting the evidence. 

 

Can information from a third party, not involved in the dispute, be submitted?

If the documentation submitted includes items such as a letter from a person that is not a party to the dispute or personal information relating to a non-party, the consent of that party to the circulation of this documentation/information must be obtained in advance of circulation. They must also be provided with the documentation in question.

 

Can newspaper clippings be submitted?

If documentation submitted, such as a newspaper clippings, is  an attempt to cause damage to the good name of a party to a dispute (or also a non-party) in relation to an issue that is not necessarily relevant to the dispute (or is undoubtedly completely irrelevant to the dispute), the RTB will notify the party submitting the documentation that, provisionally, it will be redacted or cannot be circulated. The party must explain the basis upon which the offending document was submitted if they remain of the view that the documentation should be submitted.

 

Can documentation unlawfully obtained be submitted?

Where a document submitted appears to have been unlawfully obtained or isdocumentation the submitting party should not have in their possession, the RTB will notify the party submitting the documentation that, provisionally, itwill be redacted or cannot be circulated. The party must explain the basis upon which the offending document was submitted.

 

Can additional evidence which was previously omitted be submitted at the hearing?

The Tribunal will only consider evidence given in on the day in exceptional circumstances and only if necessary in the interests of justice.

 

Can I bring witnesses to the Tribunal hearing?

You can bring as many relevant witnesses as you wish with you to the Tribunal hearing. If you need to have a witness summoned to appear on your behalf, you must ask the RTB at least 10 days before the day of the hearing. The Tribunal will consider the request and, if it agrees, it will issue a subpoena (a summons or an order) ordering the witness to attend and give evidence at the hearing at a stated time. Witnesses have the same rights as if they were appearing before the High Court.