The Waitangi Tribunal will only grant an urgent hearing in exceptional circumstances where the applicant fulfils all of the following criteria:

  1. Suffering, or likely to suffer, significant and irreversible prejudice as a result of current or pending Crown action; and
  2. No alternative remedies are reasonable to exercise in the circumstances; and
  3. Claimants are ready to proceed to a hearing.

Recently, the Waitangi Tribunal granted urgency status where several hapu and whanau groups across an iwi objected to the settlement of their historical claims by the Crown- mandated settlement body.

The Tribunal found that the prejudice the claimants would face in having full and final settlement made of their historical claims was both significant and irreversible.

No alternative remedies were seen to be open to the claimants, and the Crown was unable to give sufficient details as to an alternative process.

The claimants showed they were ready to proceed to hearing as soon as possible, highlighting the time pressures involved.

If you are considering an urgency claim in the Waitangi Tribunal we strongly advise that you seek legal advice.