Representing yourself in a civil case in the High Court

The information in this section of the Ministry of Justice’s website will help you understand how you can represent yourself when taking a claim to the High Court of New Zealand or defending a claim in the High Court. If you are a company director and wish to take or defend a claim on behalf of your company, your company usually must be represented by a lawyer.

Proceedings in the High Court can be very complicated. You should talk with a lawyer before starting or defending proceedings. If you cannot afford a lawyer, you may be able to get free legal advice from your nearest community law centre. You may also be eligible for legal aid. Please be aware that court staff cannot give you legal advice.


The terms ‘file’ and ‘serve’ are used frequently in this guide. The term ‘file’ means to file a document with a registry of the High Court. The term ‘serve’ means to give a copy of a document to every other person or organisation that is part of the proceeding and also to every other person that the court directs to be served. All documents that you file must comply with rules 5.2–5.10 of the High Court Rules(external link)


The information in this section of the website does not cover all scenarios you may face during the court process. Court proceedings are ultimately under the control of the judge.

The content in this section of the website is provided as information only and is not legal advice. The Ministry of Justice and the High Court of New Zealand do not accept liability for any loss or damage that may happen if you rely on this website.

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