District Court Act 2016

If you need more information about this Act, please contact the administering agency: Ministry of Justice

Version as at 1 December 2022

Coat of Arms of New Zealand

District Court Act 2016

Public Act
2016 No 49
Date of assent
17 October 2016
see section 2

The Parliamentary Counsel Office has made editorial and format changes to this version using the powers under subpart 2 of Part 3 of the Legislation Act 2019.

Note 4 at the end of this version provides a list of the amendments included in it.

This Act is administered by the Ministry of Justice.


4ATransitional, savings, and related provisions
5Act binds the Crown
6Application of this Act
7District Court
9Divisions of court
10Court offices
11Appointment of Judge
12Maximum number of Judges
13Appointment of Judge to sit in other jurisdiction or division of court
14Appointment of jury trial Judges
15Who is eligible for appointment as Judge
16Tenure of Judges
17Restrictions on Judges
18Protocol relating to activities of Judges
19Powers of Judges
20Exercise of jurisdiction
21Additional powers of Judges
22Other functions of Judges
23Immunity of Judges
24Chief District Court Judge
25Tenure of Chief District Court Judge
26Acting Chief District Court Judge
30Attorney-General may authorise permanent Judge to sit part-time
31Appointment of acting Judges
32Term of appointment of acting Judge
33Acting Judge must be authorised to act
34Remuneration of Judges
35Salary and allowances of part-time or acting Judge
36Superannuation of acting Judges
37Reduction in remuneration of Chief District Court Judge or principal Judge
38Judge’s remuneration must not be reduced
39Appointment of Community Magistrate
40Who is eligible for appointment as Community Magistrate
41Functions and powers of Community Magistrate
42Tenure of Community Magistrate
43Retirement, resignation, and removal
44Remuneration of Community Magistrate must not be reduced
45Restrictions on Community Magistrates
46No proceeding against Community Magistrate unless he or she acted without jurisdiction
47No proceeding against Community Magistrate to be commenced in District Court
48Onus of proof
49Plaintiff may be ordered to give security for costs
50Indemnity to Community Magistrate
51Chief Community Magistrate
52Appointment of Chief Community Magistrate
53Who is eligible for appointment as Chief Community Magistrate
54Tenure of Chief Community Magistrate
55Functions of Chief Community Magistrate
56Acting Chief Community Magistrate
57Appointment of acting Community Magistrates
58Term of appointment of acting Community Magistrate
59Acting Community Magistrate must be authorised to act
60Remuneration of Chief Community Magistrate and Community Magistrates
61Remuneration of acting Chief Community Magistrate and acting Community Magistrates
62Appointment of Registrars, Deputy Registrars, and other officers of court
63Powers of Registrars and Deputy Registrars
64Registrar must hold record of proceedings
65Admissibility of document required to be held by Registrar
66Appointment of bailiffs
67Appointment of deputy bailiffs
68Powers and duties of bailiffs
69Powers, etc, of deputy bailiffs
70Misconduct of officers
71Officer of court must not act as lawyer in court proceedings
72Sessions of court and adjournments
73Criminal jurisdiction of court
74General civil jurisdiction
75Money recoverable by statute
76Jurisdiction in equity
77Jurisdiction in relation to partnerships
79Jurisdiction to recover land in certain cases
80Abandonment of part of claim to give court jurisdiction
81Extension of jurisdiction by consent
82Jurisdiction exclusive of interest
83Causes of action not to be divided
85Proceedings against absent defendant
86Transfer of proceeding in which amount or value of claim exceeds $90,000
87Transfer of proceeding in which amount or value of claim does not exceed $90,000
88Procedure for transfer of proceeding
89High Court Judge may order removal of proceeding into High Court
90Transfer of proceeding if no jurisdiction
91Transfer of proceeding to High Court if counterclaim exceeds jurisdiction
92Transfer of summary judgment applications to High Court
93Determination of question of law by High Court
94Transfer of proceeding from High Court to District Court
95Procedure on transfer of proceeding to District Court
96Costs in cases transferred
97Trustees, executors, and administrators
99Persons jointly liable
100Bankruptcy of plaintiff
101Witness expenses
102Offence to disobey witness summons
103Examination of witnesses and service of process overseas
104Who may take affidavit
106Discovery against non-party after proceeding commenced
107Right to appear
108Trial by Judge
109Equity and good conscience
110Judge must record various matters
111Reference to arbitration
112Application to set arbitral award aside
113Judge may refer matter to Registrar or referee
114Judge may refer matter of account to Registrar, etc
115Reference by consent
116Finality of judgments and orders
117Technical defects do not invalidate judgment, order, or proceeding
118Payment of judgments or orders
119Stay if party unable to pay judgment amount
120Removal of judgment of District Court into High Court
121Proceeding in High Court on judgment or order of District Court
122Removal of judgment or order of High Court into District Court
124General right of appeal
125No appeal if agreement that decision would be binding
126Security for appeal
127Appeals to be by way of rehearing
128Powers of High Court on appeal
129Repayment of judgment amount and interest
130Enforcement proceedings
131Types of enforcement proceeding
132Judgment may be enforced in any office of District Court
133Judgment or order for payment of money
134Judgment or order in nature of injunction, etc [Repealed]
135Discovery order [Repealed]
136Judgment or order for recovery of land
137Judgment or order for delivery of specific chattels
138Time when enforcement proceedings may commence: general rule
139Exception to general rule: attachment orders
140Restriction on enforcement of judgment that is more than 6 years old
141No enforcement of order for payment by instalments without default
142Proceeding on cross-judgment
143Stay of enforcement proceeding for inability to pay
144Stay of proceeding on appeal
145Filing of financial statement
146Notice to complete financial statement
147Court to request information about judgment debtor’s means
148Court may order hearing if information about judgment debtor’s means not provided, etc
149Application for financial assessment hearing
150Power to arrest judgment debtor or officer
151Financial assessment hearing
152Registrar may exercise jurisdiction of court under sections 147, 148, 149, 151, 153, 155, and 161
153Orders by court following filing of financial statement, etc
155Attachment orders
156Content of attachment orders
157Effect of attachment orders
158Liability of employer
159Wrongful treatment of employee
160Extent to which attachment orders bind the Crown
161Variation, suspension, and discharge of attachment orders
162Review of Registrar’s decision
163Contempt of enforcement proceedings
164Process for dealing with application for contempt of enforcement proceedings
165Warrant to arrest may be issued if judgment debtor cannot be served or fails to appear at hearing
166Judgment debtor doing community work is discharged on payment
167Warrant to seize property
168Immobilisation of motor vehicles
169Disposal of securities seized
170Offence of rescuing goods seized
171Period to elapse before sale
172Goods must be sold by public auction unless court orders otherwise
173Purchaser from bailiff acquires goods free of all ownership and other proprietary interests
174Immunity of bailiff who sells without notice of claim to goods
175Goods seized under warrant to seize property that are subject to security interest
176Personal property securities register to be checked
177Priority of High Court and District Court executions
178Sale of goods subject to third party claim
179Third party claim process
180Garnishee proceedings
181Money held on deposit or in account
182Application of section 181
183Liability to deliver or disclose deposit book, deposit receipt, etc
184Charging orders
185Variation or discharge of charging order
186Effect of charging order
187Expiry of charging order in respect of land
188Registration of charging order over land or mining privilege
189Removal of charging order into High Court
190Issue and execution of order or warrant to detain in prison
191Form of warrant to detain
192Person to be detained in prison
193Power of Judge to order discharge
194Warrant for recovery of land
195Time for executing warrant for recovery of land
196Effect of possession given under warrant for recovery of land
197Irregularity or informality in execution of warrant
198Person illegally obtaining warrant liable for trespass
199Immunity of Judge, etc, when warrant illegally obtained
200Execution of warrant may be stayed on giving bond
201Effect of judgment for tenant or occupier in proceeding for trespass
202Warrant for recovery of chattels
203Further proceedings if chattels not recovered
204Neglect by bailiffs
205Liability of court officer for irregularity or informality in execution of warrant
206Liability of bailiff acting under warrant
207Warrant is proof of court’s authority
208Service of documents under this Act
209Service provisions modified in special cases
210Arrest of debtor about to leave New Zealand
212Contempt of court [Repealed]
213Judge may make order restricting commencement or continuation of civil proceedings
214Grounds for making section 213 order
215Terms of section 213 order
216Procedure and appeals relating to section 213 orders
217Recusal guidelines
218Information regarding reserved judgments
219Payment and recovery of fees
220Enforcement of fines
221Fines and fees must be paid to Crown Bank Account
222Prescribed documents to be sealed
223Proof of service of documents
224Subtenant to give notice of proceeding to subtenant’s immediate landlord
225No privilege for lawyers
226Constable must assist court or Judge
227Keeper of prison must detain prisoner on request of bailiff or constable
228Rules of practice and procedure
229Application of rules
231Regulations providing for waiver, etc, of fees
232Regulations providing for postponement of fees
233Chief executive may approve forms
234Reviews of decisions of Registrars concerning fees
235Application of Act
236Access to court information, judicial information, or Ministry of Justice information
237Sharing of permitted information with other agencies
238Requirements that Registrars disclose information
239Judge or Registrar may waive certain fees
240District Courts Act 1947 repealed
241References to District Courts
242References to Family Courts
243References to Youth Courts
244References to Disputes Tribunals
245Amendments to District Courts Rules 2014
246Name of principal rules changed
247Rule 1.1 amended (Title)
248Amendments to Family Courts Act 1980
249Name of principal Act changed
250Long Title repealed
251Section 1 amended (Short Title and commencement)
252New section 1A inserted (Purpose)
253Amendments to Family Courts Rules 2002
254Name of principal rules changed
255Rule 1 amended (Title)
256Amendments to Disputes Tribunals Act 1988
257Name of principal Act changed
258Long Title repealed
259Section 1 amended (Short Title and commencement)
260New section 1A inserted (Purpose)
261Other consequential amendments
262Transitional, savings, and related provisions

The Parliament of New Zealand enacts as follows: