Start New Zealand court proceedings against a person in Australia

You can start civil proceedings in a New Zealand court without having to ask the New Zealand court if you can serve the documents on a person in Australia.

Some types of cases are not covered by the agreement. You can’t use these rules to start a proceeding against someone in Australia if it is about :

  • certain family law issues, such as divorce or the enforcement of spousal maintenance or child support
  • court proceedings against property rather than a person (these are called actions in rem).

Step 1: Follow the New Zealand process for the proceeding

You should fill in the forms and file the documents with the New Zealand court by following the normal process for a New Zealand proceeding. For example, if you want to start a general proceeding, you should follow the process for general proceedings.

You also have to fill in this form and give it to the court at the same time as your other documents:

Notice giving prescribed information for defendant served in Australia – TTPRR form 1 [PDF, 1.7 MB]

This notice tells the Australian defendant about the:

  • steps they need to take to respond to the court proceeding
  • consequences of being served with New Zealand court proceedings.

If you don’t include this information when you serve the documents on the defendant in Australia, the defendant can ask the court to set aside (cancel) the proceedings or part of the proceedings.

Step 2: Serve the documents on the defendant in Australia

You must follow the New Zealand court's rules when serving documents starting New Zealand court proceedings on a person in Australia. This means that:

  • documents are served on a person in Australia in the same way they would be served on a person in New Zealand
  • you do not need to deal with the Australian courts.

Find out more about serving documents

Timeframe

If the defendant wants to defend the proceeding they must file their court documents in response no later than 30 working days after they are served with the proceedings.

Employment cases

The Trans-Tasman Proceedings Act can apply for employment cases between the 2 countries.

Find out more about employment cases where the parties live in New Zealand and Australia (external link)

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