Can I dispute a fine?

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Whether you are able to dispute a fine will depend on a number of circumstances. This page will help you with the process depending on the kind of fine you have.

If you are not sure what kind of fine you have, call us on 0800 4 FINES or check this page:

Help working out what kind of fine you have

Dispute a court-imposed fine

You have 28 days from the day your fine was given in court to appeal it in writing. You can request forms for this from your local district court.

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Dispute that a fine has been filed in court

If your fine has been filed in court, there are some reasons you can use to challenge the filing and have the fine sent back to the issuing authority (e.g. Police or council) so you can deal with the fine outside of court. It does not cancel the fine.

The reasons are:

  • your identity was mistaken
  • you did not get the reminder notice
  • you did not get a notice of hearing
  • you asked for a hearing but did not get a response
  • you did what the issuing authority asked and let them know that you had done it
  • you had more time to ask for a hearing
  • you asked for information that you were not given
  • you paid on time
  • another error in the process of the fine being sent to court.

1. Filling in the application form

The form is called a section 78B application. You can only apply once per fine so please read the form carefully so that you understand the reasons for challenging the fine being sent to the court. You must show that your situation fits one of these reasons to have your application approved.

Download the below application form or ask for one from our staff by calling 0800 4 FINES.

Application to dispute that a fine has been filed in court [PDF, 1.1 MB]

We cannot process the application without:

  • your first and last name
  • your date of birth
  • your mailing address
  • the fine(s) that you want to challenge (the name and date is enough, but if you give the CRN number it will speed up the process)
  • the reason (grounds) for your dispute
  • your email address if you want the result of your application emailed to you.

You must give evidence with your application for it to be approved. The application form has a list of what are good examples of evidence, for example:

  • utility bills (for example, power, water, rates)
  • a copy of your passport, including the front page
  • copies of letters or emails sent to the police or councils
  • other travel documents
  • NZ Post mail redirection notification payment receipts.

2. Send us your application form

You can email it to disputefine@justice.govt.nz, hand it in at your local district court, or send it to us at:

Ministry of Justice                  OR           Find a district court near you
Dispute Fine
SX10042
Wellington

Write the address as written above and send it the same way as any other mail. You can use an NZ Post mail box. If you use a DX mail box your mail will get to us faster.(external link)

3. A registrar will review your application

We will consider your application and let you know if your application is approved or declined. This can be within 2 working days, but if we need to contact the issuing authority it could take up to 28 days.

4. If your application is approved

It is important to remember that this does not cancel your fine. You need to contact the issuing authority (e.g. Police) within 28 days or they can send the fine back to court.

After your application is approved:

  • Re-issue reminder notice: The issuing authority will give you a new reminder notice. You can talk about it with them or pay the infringement amount.
  • Set up a hearing: You may choose to ask the issuing authority (e.g. Police) for a hearing. This means that a date will be set for you to attend court and defend the alleged offence.
  • Withdrawal: The issuing authority may choose to cancel the fine, but they are not legally required to.

5. If your application is declined

If your application has been declined you can:

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