Welcome to the website for Civil Justice in the District Courts of New Zealand.

Civil Court Home

This website provides you with information about New Zealand's civil justice system and what you can do if you have a dispute with someone.

What is civil justice?

Please note the District Courts Rules have been amended with the changes effective on 14 June 2012. Please click here to familiarise yourself with some important changes which may affect you after this date if you're involved in a civil dispute.

Civil justice relates to disputes between individuals or organisations. Generally, civil cases are not about breaking a criminal law. For example, they could include disputes over business contracts or debts, or disputes between neighbours.

If you have a dispute

If you have a dispute with someone, you may be able to resolve it without going to court. Many civil cases are settled without a court hearing because everyone agrees on a solution.

A civil case comes before the courts if people cannot resolve a dispute between themselves, either independently or with legal help.

There are many advantages in resolving a dispute outside of the court system - it can reduce cost, save time and avoid extra stress.

There are a number of ways you could try to resolve your dispute:

  • If the claim is for less than $15,000 (or less than $20,000 if eveyone agrees) and is disputed, then it may be able to be heard by the Disputes Tribunal.
  • If the claim is for less than $200,000, then you may go to the District Court. See the District Court's claim process for more information.
  • If your claim is very complex, or for more than $200,000, it will be dealt with by the High Court. Your lawyer or community law centre can give you more information about taking your claim to the High Court.