The CEIT, chaired by former District Court Judge Chris Somerville, has been established with the objective of resolving longstanding Canterbury earthquake insurance disputes in a “speedy, flexible and cost-effective way”.   It can only consider claims for physical loss or damage to residential buildings, property and land.

Cases can be transferred from the High Court to the CEIT.  Homeowners can elect a representative to receive communications for them and a support person to accompany them to all conferences and hearings, such as an engineer, builder, lawyer, friend, family member, councillor or care-worker.

The CEIT will encourage settlement by:

  • providing preliminary hearings on disputed facts or contested legal issues
  • referring the parties for mediation at any stage in the proceedings
  • actively seeking evidence or making appropriate enquiries
  • requesting the HC for a ruling on an important legal issue not previously determined by a court
  • appointing an expert to convene an experts’ facilitation
  • directing the parties’ experts give evidence together and be able to ask each other questions under oath
  • holding a special sitting at which the expert evidence from a number of claims can be heard together so that consistent rulings can be made on complex technical issues.

CEIT can make any order that:

  • A court could make in accordance with the terms of an insurance contract in dispute, and the general law of New Zealand, including contract law and the Earthquake Commission Act 1993
  • The Limitation Act 2010 and any other enactment that prescribes a limitation period or other limitation defence will apply
  • General damages
  • Costs and expenses are payable under the insurance contract
  • Decides that a party is liable to make a payment to another party, subject to any conditions
  • The liability of a party depends on another party meeting particular conditions
  • A claim is terminated when settled by agreement before the Tribunal decision is given and, if requested by the parties, to record the settlement in the form of a decision

The CEIT will provide a written decision, including reasons.  The decision is enforceable as if handed down by a District Court.

If you receive a request to transfer a claim to the CEIT, full details of the procedures can be found in the practice note or contact McElroys for more details.