1If I am present in person, where is the Setting the Bar process held?
The mediation and arbitration both take place at Setting the Bar offices which are situated at Victoria Legal Chambers, Level 1, 240 Victoria Street, Hamilton.
2Can I tell the arbitrator something that someone else has told me?
Yes, but the arbitrator will decide what weight he gives this information. If you can, it is always better to have the person that gave you this information available to tell the arbitrator themselves.
3Do I have to be present?
The process is designed to take place any way you like, either in person, via telephone or via the internet such as by Skype, Zoom, What’s App.
4Can there be a mixture of the above?
Yes, each side can choose the way they wish to conduct the process.
5Do I have to be in the same room as the other side?
No, you can choose the method of conducting the process and if you wish to avoid coming in contact with the other side – that can be arranged.
6How long will the process take?
The mediation lasts up to 4 hours. The arbitration lasts up to 6 hours.
7Do I get something in writing if we agree at mediation?
Yes, if you agree at mediation, the mediator will draft a mediated agreement which each side will sign and the mediator will sign.
8Does the arbitrator give a decision in writing?
Yes, the arbitrator will give a written decision to each side no later than 2 weeks after holding the arbitration.
9Can I choose only to mediate or only to arbitrate?
No, the process is specifically set up in a unique way which requires mediation followed by arbitration in the same day if mediation is unsuccessful. This is so your dispute is resolved quickly and finally.
10Can I make the other side agree to this process?
No, this process needs all sides of the dispute to agree to the process. You may wish to suggest to the other side that the Setting the Bar process is cheaper and quicker than the court process will be.
11What do I do if the other side won’t agree to using STB?
Both sides need to agree to use the STB process. If the other side won’t agree you need to use the District Court and file proceedings there. That will require the other side to become involved in the process in the District Court. It would be possible, at any time, to transfer the proceedings by consent from the District Court to STB. You may also wish to suggest to the other side that the Setting the Bar process is cheaper and quicker than the court process will be.
12Can my lawyer or representative be involved?
Your lawyer or representative can help you prepare but is not permitted to participate in or be present at the mediation or arbitration.
13Will I be able to do this process myself?
Yes, this process is designed to allow non-legal people the ability to resolve their disputes. The mediator and arbitrator are both experienced barristers and used to resolving disputes for non-legal people.
14What is the difference between mediation and arbitration?
In mediation, the mediator will use a process designed to assist you to reach agreement yourselves. In arbitration, the arbitrator will hear evidence from each side and will make a decision. The arbitrator will ask all necessary questions of each side.
15What sort of evidence/information should I supply?
You should be prepared to speak about the dispute. You should bring any documents that support what you say. If you have people (witnesses) that have information that you want to put forward, you should have those people with you or contactable for arbitration.
16How do I sign up for the Setting the Bar process?
You must complete and sign the on-line application form. Click here for application form.
17If I am responding to an application made to Setting the Bar, what do I do?
You must complete and sign the on-line response form. Click here for response form.

What type of dispute can be heard by Setting the Bar?

1How much money can be in dispute?
If your dispute is about money, then Setting the Bar is designed to resolve disputes that are above the Disputes Tribunal levels of $15,000 (and $20,000 by consent) and below $100,000. Disputes that do not involve money can also use Setting the Bar.
2What type of dispute is appropriate for Setting the Bar?
Setting the Bar is appropriate for all disputes other than employment, criminal and family court disputes with the exception of estate matters.
3Can the arbitrator’s decision be appealed?
No, there is no right of appeal. The arbitrator’s decision is final and concludes the dispute. Setting the Bar deliberately chose to not allow a right of appeal so that the dispute is resolved quickly and inexpensively.
4Does Setting the Bar have to agree to accept any and every dispute?
No, Setting the Bar reserves the right to refuse to accept disputes that it considers are inappropriate for any reason. In such a case, Setting the Bar will not charge you any money.
5What if my dispute is over $100,000?
Setting the Bar will always consider a request for any type of dispute irrespective of the amount of money at stake but disputes over $100,000 often take a lot longer than half a day to mediate or arbitrate.
6Do disputes have to be about an amount of money?
No. Setting the Bar will hear any dispute, e.g., disputes between neighbours, disputes between members of a family over a will.


1Would agreement reached at mediation or a decision made in arbitration be recognised by a court?
Yes, the New Zealand Courts will both recognise and uphold a mediated agreement and an arbitration decision.
2How do I enforce the agreement that was reached at mediation or the arbitrator’s decision?
There are likely to be different options available to you. Setting the Bar is not involved in the enforcement process. Setting the Bar assists you to reach an agreement at mediation or to obtain a decision at arbitration. Enforcement is a simple court process. Court staff can assist you. Alternatively you might wish to involve your lawyer.
3Is an agreement at mediation binding?
Yes, an agreement at mediation is binding because at the start of the process, each side has agreed to be bound if they reach agreement at mediation.
4Is a decision made by the arbitrator binding?
Yes, because at the start of the process, each side has agreed to be bound by the arbitrator’s decision.


1How much does the process cost?
The 1 day Setting the Bar process costs $10,000 plus GST in total. $5000 plus GST per party.
2Where is the money paid?
The money is paid to your solicitor’s trust account or to the trust account of Nielsen Law. This is a solicitor’s trust account nominated by Setting the Bar. The money is only paid by that solicitor to Setting the Bar once the process has been concluded.
3Is there any refund if we reach agreement at mediation and don’t need arbitration?
No if you resolve your dispute at mediation and do not need arbitration, there will be no money refunded.
4Does the money have to be paid in advance?
Yes, the total amount of $10,000 plus GST must be paid into your solicitor’s trust account or into the nominated solicitor’s trust account before the process commences.
5Who pays the Setting the Bar fee of $10,000 plus GST?
It is up to you and the others involved in the dispute as to who pays the fee. This may be shared equally or one side may agree to pay the whole amount. Each side must, however, complete the on-line application and response forms and agree to the process.