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Simon Power

25 August, 2010

Law passed to improve resolution of Trans-Tasman disputes

A package of new measures aimed at resolving trans-Tasman disputes more effectively and at lower cost was passed into law today. 

The Trans-Tasman Proceedings Bill implements the agreement between the New Zealand and Australian governments on trans-Tasman court proceedings and regulatory enforcement, which was signed in July 2008. 

The agreement is implemented through mirror legislation in each country, with Australia passing its version of the law in March this year.

"Both governments have worked closely together to develop the legislation and make sure the new regime delivers the maximum benefit for individuals and businesses on both sides of the Tasman," Justice Minister Simon Power said.

"The new regime reflects an unparalleled level of co-operation between two countries on cross-border civil justice issues.

"Advancing single economic market outcomes is a priority for me as Minister of Justice and Commerce, and the passage of this bill is a crucial part of that."

The Trans-Tasman Proceedings Bill:

  • Allows civil proceedings from one country to be served on a defendant in the other country as of right.

  • Expands the range of civil court judgments from one country that can be enforced in the other, and streamlines the process for enforcement of those judgments.

  • Introduces a common statutory test to determine whether a court in one country should decide a dispute or ‘give way' to a court in the other country.

  • Facilitates greater use of technology to enable parties and their lawyers to appear remotely in proceedings in the other country.

  • Improves regulatory enforcement between countries by allowing civil pecuniary penalties and certain criminal regulatory fines imposed in one country to be enforced in the other.

Mr Power says the New Zealand and Australian governments will continue to work closely together to make the necessary supporting regulations and bring the new regime into force at the earliest opportunity.

  • Simon Power
  • Justice