Reprint
as at 13 September 2002

Coat of Arms of New Zealand

Domestic Actions Act 1975

Public Act1975 No 53
Date of assent3 October 1975
Commencement3 October 1975

Note

Changes authorised by section 17C of the Acts and Regulations Publication Act 1989 have been made in this reprint.

A general outline of these changes is set out in the notes at the end of this reprint, together with other explanatory material about this reprint.

This Act is administered by the Ministry of Justice.


An Act to abolish the actions for damages for adultery, for enticement of a spouse, for harbouring of a spouse or child, and for enticement or seduction of a child, and for breach of promise of marriage, and to provide for the settlement of property disputes arising out of the termination of agreements to marry

  • Title: amended, on 21 January 1981, by section 190(1) of the Family Proceedings Act 1980 (1980 No 94).

1 Short Title
  • This Act may be cited as the Domestic Actions Act 1975.

Part 1
Damages for adultery

2 Abolition of right to claim damages for adultery
  • (1) Part 5 of the Matrimonial Proceedings Act 1963 is hereby repealed.

    (2) Nothing in this section shall affect any claim for damages made on a petition filed before the commencement of this Act.

Common law actions

3 Abolition of action for enticement of a spouse
  • (1) No person shall be liable in tort to any other person for inducing the spouse of that other person to leave or remain apart from that other person.

    (2) This section shall have effect in relation to events occurring before as well as after the passing of the Family Proceedings Act 1980 but shall not affect any action commenced before the passing of that Act.

    Section 3: replaced, on 21 January 1981, by section 190(2) of the Family Proceedings Act 1980 (1980 No 94).

4 Abolition of actions for enticement, seduction, and harbouring
  • (1) No person shall be liable in tort—

    • (a) to a parent for—

      • (i) inducing a child of that parent to leave or remain apart from that parent; or

      • (ii) seducing the child of that parent; or

      • (iii) harbouring the child of that parent; or

    • (b) to any other person for—

      • (i) seducing the servant of that other person; or

      • (ii) harbouring the wife of that other person.

    (2) In this section the expression parent, in relation to any child, includes a guardian or person standing in the place of a parent to that child.

    (3) This section shall have effect in relation to events occurring before as well as after the commencement of this Act but shall not affect any action commenced before the commencement of this Act.

5 Action for breach of promise of marriage abolished
  • (1) No agreement between 2 persons to marry each other, wherever made, shall be a contract, and the action for breach of promise of marriage is hereby abolished.

    (2) This section shall have effect in relation to agreements made before as well as after the commencement of this Act but shall not affect any action commenced before the commencement of this Act.

Amendments and repeals

6 Consequential amendments and repeals
  • (1)–(4) Amendment(s) incorporated in the Act(s).

    (5) [Repealed]

    (6)–(7) Amendment(s) incorporated in the Act(s).

    (8) This section shall not affect any action commenced before the commencement of this Act.

    Section 6(5): repealed, on 1 February 1992, by section 159(2) of the Legal Services Act 1991 (1991 No 71).

Part 2
Property disputes arising out of agreements to marry

7 Interpretation
  • In this Part, unless the context otherwise requires,—

    agreement to marry includes an agreement to marry which, immediately before the commencement of this Act, would have been void

    court means a court having jurisdiction by virtue of section 9

    party to the agreement includes the legal personal representative of such a party

    property includes real and personal property and any estate or interest in any property real or personal, and any debt, and any thing in action, and any other right or interest.

8 Property disputes arising out of agreements to marry
  • (1) Where the termination of an agreement to marry gives rise to any question between the parties to the agreement, or between 1 or both of the parties to the agreement and a third party, concerning the title to or possession or disposition of any property, any such party may, in the course of any proceedings or on application made for the purpose, apply to the court for an order under this section.

    (2) Every application under this section shall be made within 12 months of the date of termination of the agreement or within such longer period as the court may allow.

    (3) Subject to subsection (6), on any such application the court shall make such orders as it thinks necessary to restore each party to the agreement, and any third party, as closely as practicable to the position that party would have occupied if the agreement had never been made.

    (4) In determining the orders to be made on any such application, the court shall not take into account or attempt to ascertain or apportion responsibility for the termination of the agreement.

    (5) In order to give effect to subsection (3), but without limiting the general power conferred thereby, the court may, on any such application, notwithstanding that the legal or equitable interests of all parties in any property may be defined, or that a party may have no legal or equitable interest in any property, make orders for—

    • (a) the sale of all or part of the property and the division or settlement of the proceeds in such shares and upon such terms as it thinks fit:

    • (b) the partition or division of the property:

    • (c) the vesting of property owned by 1 or 2 parties in 2 or more parties in common in such shares as it thinks fit:

    • (d) the conversion of joint ownership into ownership in common in such shares as it thinks fit:

    • (e) the payment of sums of money by any party to any other party or parties.

    (6) Where any property in dispute is a gift from a third party and the court is satisfied that the third party does not wish the gift to be returned to him, the court may make such orders with respect to that property as appear just in all the circumstances, but without taking into account or attempting to ascertain or apportion responsibility for the termination of the agreement.

    (7) An order made under this section shall be subject to appeal in the same way as an order made by a District Court or the High Court in an action in a District Court or in the High Court, respectively, would be.

    (8) Nothing in this section shall limit or affect the right of any person to bring an action for money had and received.

    Section 8(7): amended, on 1 April 1980, pursuant to section 18(2) of the District Courts Amendment Act 1979 (1979 No 125).

    Section 8(7): amended, on 1 April 1980, pursuant to section 12 of the Judicature Amendment Act 1979 (1979 No 124).

9 Concurrent jurisdiction of High Court and Family Court
  • (1) The High Court and a Family Court shall each have jurisdiction to make orders pursuant to section 8:

    provided that a Family Court shall have no jurisdiction to make any such order in respect of any property on an application made while proceedings relating to or affecting the property were pending in the High Court.

    (2) The High Court, upon application by any party to proceedings pending on an application made under section 8 in a Family Court (other than an application made in the course of other proceedings in that court), shall order the proceedings to be removed into the High Court unless it is satisfied that the proceedings would be more appropriately dealt with in a Family Court. Where the proceedings have been so removed they shall be continued in the High Court as if they had been properly and duly commenced in that court.

    (3) Amendment(s) incorporated in the Act(s).

    Section 9 heading: amended, on 1 October 1981, pursuant to section 17(1) of the Family Courts Act 1980 (1980 No 161).

    Section 9 heading: amended, on 1 April 1980, pursuant to section 12 of the Judicature Amendment Act 1979 (1979 No 124).

    Section 9(1): amended, on 1 October 1981, by section 17(1) of the Family Courts Act 1980 (1980 No 161).

    Section 9(1): amended, on 1 April 1980, pursuant to section 12 of the Judicature Amendment Act 1979 (1979 No 124).

    Section 9(2): amended, on 1 October 1981, by section 17(1) of the Family Courts Act 1980 (1980 No 161).

    Section 9(2): amended, on 1 April 1980, pursuant to section 12 of the Judicature Amendment Act 1979 (1979 No 124).

9A Rules of procedure
  • Rules regulating the practice and procedure of the courts in proceedings under this Act may be made,—

    • (a) in the case of the High Court, under section 51C of the Judicature Act 1908:

    • (b) in the case of Family Courts, under section 16A of the Family Courts Act 1980.

    Section 9A: inserted, on 13 September 2002, by section 6 of the Family Courts Amendment Act 2000 (2000 No 65).

10 Other procedural matters
  • (1) On any application made under section 8, such notice as the court directs shall be given to every person having or appearing to have an interest in the property in question, and any such person shall be entitled to appear and be heard in the matter as a party to the application.

    (2) An order made by the court pursuant to section 8 that a sum of money be paid to any person shall take effect as a judgment of the court in favour of that person for that sum and shall be enforceable accordingly, and a sum of money ordered to be paid in respect of any estate or interest in land shall also constitute a charge against that estate or interest, and may be registered under the provisions of the Statutory Land Charges Registration Act 1928.

    (3) Where any order made pursuant to section 8 affects the ownership of any estate or interest in land which is registered in the office of the Registrar or the Registrar of Deeds, a copy of the order sealed with the seal of the court shall, upon application by any party to the application and upon payment of the prescribed fee (if any), be registered by the Registrar or the Registrar of Deeds, as the case may require, and shall thereupon have effect according to its tenor.

    (4) Without limiting the provisions of subsection (2), where under any order made pursuant to section 8 a person is or may be liable to pay a sum of money to another person, the court may direct that it be paid either in 1 sum or in instalments and either with or without security and otherwise in such manner and subject to such conditions as the court thinks fit.

    Section 10 heading: replaced, on 13 September 2002, by section 6 of the Family Courts Amendment Act 2000 (2000 No 65).

    Section 10(3): amended, on 1 June 2002, pursuant to section 38(2) of the Land Transfer (Computer Registers and Electronic Lodgement) Amendment Act 2002 (2002 No 11).

11 Rights of mortgagee, etc, not affected
  • The rights conferred on any person by an order made under section 8 shall be subject to the rights of the person entitled to the benefit of any mortgage, security, charge, or encumbrance affecting the property in respect of which the order is made if it was registered before the order was registered or if the rights of that person arise under an instrument executed before the date of the making of the order:

    provided that, notwithstanding anything in any enactment or in any instrument, no money payable under any such mortgage, security, charge, or encumbrance shall be called up or become due by reason of the making of any such order not being an order directing the sale of any property.


Contents

  • 1General

  • 2Status of reprints

  • 3How reprints are prepared

  • 4Changes made under section 17C of the Acts and Regulations Publication Act 1989

  • 5List of amendments incorporated in this reprint (most recent first)


Notes
1 General
  • This is a reprint of the Domestic Actions Act 1975. The reprint incorporates all the amendments to the Act as at 13 September 2002, as specified in the list of amendments at the end of these notes.

    Relevant provisions of any amending enactments that contain transitional, savings, or application provisions that cannot be compiled in the reprint are also included, after the principal enactment, in chronological order. For more information, see http://www.pco.parliament.govt.nz/reprints/ .

2 Status of reprints
  • Under section 16D of the Acts and Regulations Publication Act 1989, reprints are presumed to correctly state, as at the date of the reprint, the law enacted by the principal enactment and by the amendments to that enactment. This presumption applies even though editorial changes authorised by section 17C of the Acts and Regulations Publication Act 1989 have been made in the reprint.

    This presumption may be rebutted by producing the official volumes of statutes or statutory regulations in which the principal enactment and its amendments are contained.

3 How reprints are prepared
  • A number of editorial conventions are followed in the preparation of reprints. For example, the enacting words are not included in Acts, and provisions that are repealed or revoked are omitted. For a detailed list of the editorial conventions, see http://www.pco.parliament.govt.nz/editorial-conventions/ or Part 8 of the Tables of New Zealand Acts and Ordinances and Statutory Regulations and Deemed Regulations in Force.

4 Changes made under section 17C of the Acts and Regulations Publication Act 1989
  • Section 17C of the Acts and Regulations Publication Act 1989 authorises the making of editorial changes in a reprint as set out in sections 17D and 17E of that Act so that, to the extent permitted, the format and style of the reprinted enactment is consistent with current legislative drafting practice. Changes that would alter the effect of the legislation are not permitted.

    A new format of legislation was introduced on 1 January 2000. Changes to legislative drafting style have also been made since 1997, and are ongoing. To the extent permitted by section 17C of the Acts and Regulations Publication Act 1989, all legislation reprinted after 1 January 2000 is in the new format for legislation and reflects current drafting practice at the time of the reprint.

    In outline, the editorial changes made in reprints under the authority of section 17C of the Acts and Regulations Publication Act 1989 are set out below, and they have been applied, where relevant, in the preparation of this reprint:

    • omission of unnecessary referential words (such as of this section and of this Act)

    • typeface and type size (Times Roman, generally in 11.5 point)

    • layout of provisions, including:

      • indentation

      • position of section headings (eg, the number and heading now appear above the section)

    • format of definitions (eg, the defined term now appears in bold type, without quotation marks)

    • format of dates (eg, a date formerly expressed as the 1st day of January 1999 is now expressed as 1 January 1999)

    • position of the date of assent (it now appears on the front page of each Act)

    • punctuation (eg, colons are not used after definitions)

    • Parts numbered with roman numerals are replaced with arabic numerals, and all cross-references are changed accordingly

    • case and appearance of letters and words, including:

      • format of headings (eg, headings where each word formerly appeared with an initial capital letter followed by small capital letters are amended so that the heading appears in bold, with only the first word (and any proper nouns) appearing with an initial capital letter)

      • small capital letters in section and subsection references are now capital letters

    • schedules are renumbered (eg, Schedule 1 replaces First Schedule), and all cross-references are changed accordingly

    • running heads (the information that appears at the top of each page)

    • format of two-column schedules of consequential amendments, and schedules of repeals (eg, they are rearranged into alphabetical order, rather than chronological).

5 List of amendments incorporated in this reprint (most recent first)
  • Land Transfer (Computer Registers and Electronic Lodgement) Amendment Act 2002 (2002 No 11): section 38(2)

    Family Courts Amendment Act 2000 (2000 No 65): section 6

    Legal Services Act 1991 (1991 No 71): section 159(2)

    Family Courts Act 1980 (1980 No 161): section 17(1)

    Family Proceedings Act 1980 (1980 No 94): section 190, (2)

    District Courts Amendment Act 1979 (1979 No 125): section 18(2)

    Judicature Amendment Act 1979 (1979 No 124): section 12