District Courts Act 1947

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Reprint as at 1 July 2015

Coat of Arms of New Zealand

District Courts Act 1947

Public Act
1947 No 16
Date of assent
24 October 1947
see section 1(2)

Changes authorised by subpart 2 of Part 2 of the Legislation Act 2012 have been made in this official reprint.

Note 4 at the end of this reprint provides a list of the amendments incorporated.

This Act is administered by the Ministry of Justice.


1Short Title and commencement
3Courts constituted
4Appointment of places for holding of courts
4ASittings of court at other places
4BDisputes Tribunals
5Appointment and qualifications
5AAJudges act on full-time basis but may be authorised to act part-time
5AChief District Court Judge
5BAppointment of jury trial Judges
6Salaries and allowances
7Tenure of office
8Ex officio functions of Judges
9Assignment and rostering of District Court Judges
10Acting Judges
10ARetired Judges may act
11Jurisdiction of Judge in Chatham Islands
11AAppointment of Community Magistrates
11BRight to hold other office and to engage in other employment
11CFunctions and powers of Community Magistrates
11CANo proceeding against Community Magistrate unless he or she acted without jurisdiction
11CBNo proceeding against Community Magistrate to be commenced in District Court
11CCOnus of proof
11CDPlaintiff may be ordered to give security for costs
11CEIndemnity to Community Magistrate
11DChief Community Magistrate
11EFunctions of Chief Community Magistrate
11FTenure of office
11GRemuneration and allowances of Community Magistrates
11HRetired Community Magistrates
12Appointment of Registrar
13Record of proceedings to be kept by Registrar
14Deputy Registrars
15Appointment of bailiffs
16Deputy bailiffs
17Powers and duties of bailiffs
17ASections 121, 128, and 129 of Search and Surveillance Act 2012 inapplicable to bailiffs
18Penalty for assaulting officers
19Misconduct of officers
20Officers of court not to act as solicitors therein
21Place of sittings
22Times of sittings
23Adjourned sittings
29General jurisdiction in respect of proceedings
30Money recoverable by statute
31Extending jurisdiction in actions for recovery of land
32Landlord’s right where rent is in arrear or premises deserted [Repealed]
33Jurisdiction as to building societies
34Equity jurisdiction
35Jurisdiction where title in question
36Abandonment of part of claim to give court jurisdiction
37Extension of jurisdiction in admiralty by agreement between the parties
38Division of cause of action not allowed
39Proceedings against absent defendant
40Persons who exercise jurisdiction of court
41General ancillary jurisdiction
42Ancillary powers of Judge
42AJurisdiction exclusive of interest awarded
43Transfer to High Court of proceeding within jurisdiction
44Transfer of proceedings beyond jurisdiction
45Transfer of proceedings where there is a counterclaim
45ARemoval of summary judgment application from District Court to High Court
45BRemoval of question of law into High Court
46Transfer of proceeding from High Court to District Court
47Procedure on transfer of proceeding from High Court to District Court
48Costs in cases transferred or removed
49Trustees, executors, and administrators
50Amount of wages, etc, for which minor may sue
51Persons jointly liable
52Bankruptcy of plaintiff
53Witness entitled to expenses
54Penalty for neglecting witness summons
55Examination of witnesses and service of process abroad
56Persons who may take affidavits, etc
56APowers of court exercisable before commencement of proceeding
56BPower of court to order particular discovery against non-party after proceeding commenced
57Right of audience
58Trial by Judge
59Equity and good conscience
60Judge to take notes
61Power of Judge to refer to arbitration
62Power of Judge to refer to Registrar or referee
62AReference by consent
62BPower of court to award interest on debts and damages
63Finality of judgments and orders
64Want of form
65Payment of judgments and orders
65AInterest on judgment debts
66Removal of judgment of District Court into High Court
67Proceeding in High Court on judgment or order of District Court
68Removal of judgment or order of High Court into District Court
69Removal of judgment from one court to another [Repealed]
70Removal of judgment of abolished court
70AApplication of rules
71ARight to appeal [Repealed]
72General right of appeal
73Agreements that decision would be binding
74Security for appeal
75Appeals to be by way of rehearing
76Powers of High Court on appeal
77Repayment of judgment sum and interest
78Enforcement proceedings
78ARight of appeal in respect of contempt of court [Repealed]
79Nature of proceedings for enforcement of judgment
79AJudgment may be enforced in any District Court
80Enforcement of judgments more than 6 years old
81Enforcement of order for payment by instalments
82Proceedings on cross-judgments
83Power to stay proceedings for enforcement
84Stay of proceedings on appeal
84AFiling of financial statement
84BNotice to complete financial statement
84CCourt to request information about judgment debtor’s means
84DCourt may order hearing if information about judgment debtor’s means not provided, etc
84EApplication for financial assessment hearing
84EAPower to arrest judgment debtor or officer
84EBFinancial assessment hearing
84ECOrders by court following filing of financial statement, etc
84GAttachment orders
84HContent of attachment orders
84IEffect of attachment orders
84JLiability of employer
84KWrongful treatment of employee
84LExtent to which attachment orders bind the Crown
84MVariation, suspension, and discharge of attachment orders
84NReview of Registrar’s decision
84OContempt procedures
84OAProcess for dealing with application for contempt procedures
84OBWarrant to arrest may be issued if judgment debtor cannot be served or fails to appear at hearing
84PApplication of Part 1 of Legal Services Act 1991 [Repealed]
84QJudgment debtor doing community work to be discharged on payment
85Warrant to seize property
85AImmobilisation of motor vehicles
86Disposal of bills of exchange, etc, seized
87Penalty for rescue of goods seized
88Period to elapse before sale
89Sale of goods by public auction unless otherwise ordered
90Protection of bailiff selling goods under execution without notice of claim by third party
91Procedure when goods seized are secured under bill of sale
91APersonal property securities register to be checked
92Priority of High Court and District Court executions
93Sale of goods where claim made thereto
94Third party claim process
95Claims for rent where goods seized under execution [Repealed]
96Garnishee proceedings
96ACharging orders
97Issue and execution of orders or warrants of committal
98Power of Judge to order discharge
99Warrant for the recovery of land
100Irregularity in execution of warrant can only be sued for as special damage
101Person illegally obtaining warrant liable for trespass
102Execution of warrant may be stayed on giving bond
103Warrant for the recovery of chattels
104Further proceedings if chattels not recovered
105Neglect by bailiffs
106Irregularity in executing warrants
107Actions against bailiffs acting under warrants
108Action to be brought within 6 months, and 1 month’s notice to be given
108AService of documents under this Part
108BService provisions modified in special cases
109Absconding debtors may be held to bail
110Successful plaintiff entitled to execution, successful defendant entitled to compensation
112Penalty for contempt of court
113Payment and recovery of fees
114Enforcement of fines
115Fines and fees to be paid to Crown Bank Account
116Prescribed documents to be sealed
116AProof of service of documents
117Subtenant to give notice of proceeding to subtenant’s immediate landlord
118Actions on lost instruments
119Immunity of Judges
120No privilege to solicitors
121Constables, etc, to assist
122District Courts Rules
123AAChief executive of Ministry of Justice may approve forms
123AReviews of decisions of Registrars concerning fees
124Application of Act
125Repeals and savings
Reprint notes

An Act to consolidate and amend certain enactments of the Parliament of New Zealand relating to District Courts and the jurisdiction of District Court Judges in civil proceedings, and to make provision for the exercise of criminal jurisdiction under the Criminal Procedure Act 2011 in District Courts

Title: amended, on 1 July 2013, by section 12 of the District Courts Amendment Act (No 2) 2011 (2011 No 88).

Title: amended, on 1 January 1987, pursuant to section 29(2) of the Constitution Act 1986 (1986 No 114).

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