What happens next

The person who makes the application or claim is called the applicant.

A person who has a claim made against them is called the respondent.

When the Copyright Tribunal gets the application

We’ll contact the applicant to confirm we’ve received their application.

Next we’ll contact the internet provider (IPAP) that issued the infringement notices and ask for the account holder’s name and contact details. Then we will:

  • issue a Notice of Proceedings
  • serve the proceedings on the account holder along with a copy of the application and any other documents that came with it.

The account holder can send the tribunal a written response about the claim against them.

This response will be sent to the applicant who can file a written reply.  We’ll send the account holder a copy of the reply.

The account holder can tell the tribunal whether they want to have a hearing or have the case decided ‘on the papers’.  

‘On the papers’ means the tribunal will make its decision based on the documents the parties have provided. That means parties don’t attend a hearing.

The hearing

The tribunal can decide whether or not a case should go to a formal hearing or if it can be heard on the papers.

If the tribunal decides your case should have a formal hearing, we’ll contact you to let you know what the next steps will be.

At a hearing, the people involved (every party) can attend and be heard.

Parties aren’t normally allowed to be represented, except in certain situations. You can find these exceptions in section 122M of the Act. If there’s a representative, they can’t be a lawyer unless the tribunal gives its permission.

Section 122M of the Copyright Act 1994(external link)

What the tribunal can order internet account holders to do

The tribunal can order an internet account holder to pay a rights owner:

  • for each infringement that it is satisfied was committed by the account holder
  • a contribution towards the fees the rights owner paid to the internet provider
  • the cost of the application fee the rights owner paid to the tribunal
  • an amount that the tribunal considers appropriate to deter against further infringing.

The maximum amount the tribunal can order the account holder to pay is $15,000.


The tribunal will generally make its decision 'on the papers' based on the written information provided by the parties.

All decisions are given in writing.

Appeal the tribunal’s decision

You can only appeal the tribunal’s decision if you believe it’s wrong in law. An appeal must be lodged with the High Court within 20 working days of you being told the tribunal’s decision.

If you do appeal to the High Court, you must also send the tribunal a copy of your appeal.

You should seek legal advice before appealing to the High Court.

Withdraw an application

You can withdraw your application at any stage before a final decision is made. Fill in and send us this form:

Withdraw your file sharing application [PDF, 811 KB]

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