District Courts Rules 2009

  • revoked
  • District Courts Rules 2009: revoked, on 1 July 2014, by rule 22.1 of the District Courts Rules 2014 (LI 2014/179).

Reprint as at 1 July 2014

District Courts Rules 2009

(SR 2009/257)

Anand Satyanand, Governor-General

Order in Council

At Wellington this 31st day of August 2009

His Excellency the Governor-General in Council

  • District Courts Rules 2009: revoked, on 1 July 2014, by rule 22.1 of the District Courts Rules 2014 (LI 2014/179).


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.

These rules are administered by the Ministry of Justice.

Pursuant to section 122 of the District Courts Act 1947, section 11 of the Admiralty Act 1973, section 16 of the Arbitration Act 1996, section 42 of the Harassment Act 1997, section 81 of the Construction Contracts Act 2002, and section 213 of the Local Government Act 2002, His Excellency the Governor-General, acting on the advice and with the consent of the Executive Council, and (in relation to jurisdiction conferred by the District Courts Act 1947, the Admiralty Act 1973, or the Construction Contracts Act 2002) with the concurrence of the Chief District Court Judge and at least 2 members of the Rules Committee established under section 51B of the Judicature Act 1908 (of whom at least 1 was a District Court Judge), makes the following rules.


1.1 Title

1.2 Commencement

Part 1
Preliminary provisions

1.3 Objective

1.4 Courts to give effect to objective

1.5 Application of rules

1.6 Application of High Court Rules

1.7 Mediation or other alternative dispute resolution

1.8 Interpretation

1.9 Further provisions about interpretation

1.10 Non-compliance with rules

1.11 Directions in case of doubt

1.12 Questions concerning application of these rules

1.13 Cases not provided for

1.14 Amendment of defects and errors

1.15 Correction of accidental slip or omission


1.16 Calculating periods of time

1.17 When time expires on day when court office is closed

1.18 Extending and shortening time

Offices, holidays, and office hours

1.19 Court holidays

1.20 Sittings on court holidays

1.21 Closing or opening by special order

1.22 Office hours

Postal provision

1.23 Filing by post

Forms and documents

1.24 General requirements

1.25 Form of documents

1.26 Paper

1.27 Margin

1.28 Signature to be original

1.29 Cover sheet, numbering, and fastening of document

1.30 Description of document

1.31 Format of cover sheet

1.32 Information at foot of cover sheet

1.33 Heading on statement of claim and counterclaim

1.34 Heading of judgment and certain orders

1.35 Heading of other documents

1.36 Numbers

1.37 Documents that must be sealed

1.38 Rules about authority to file and sign documents

Part 2
General procedure for civil claims where no other procedure provided

Subpart 1Preliminary provisions

2.1 Application of this Part

Subpart 2How to start court proceeding


2.2 Overview of notice of claim procedure

General provisions about notice of claim procedure and alternative procedure

2.3 How to start claim, and procedure that applies

2.4 Rules about service of documents

2.5 Who must sign document under this Part

2.6 Undisputed facts treated as being admitted

Alternative procedure

2.7 Court’s discretion to grant leave to file statement of claim or originating application

2.8 Procedure following granting of leave under rule 2.7

Admiralty, arbitral awards, and defamation

2.9 How to start proceedings relating to admiralty, arbitral awards, or defamation

Notice of claim procedure

2.10 Plaintiff to file and serve notice of claim

2.11 Contents of notice of claim

Defendant to respond

2.12 Defendant to serve response on plaintiff within 20 working days, and opportunity to apply for rule 2.7 order

2.13 Contents of response

Plaintiff to serve information capsule

2.14 Plaintiff to serve information capsule on defendant within 20 working days

Defendant to serve information capsule

2.15 Defendant to serve information capsule on plaintiff within 20 working days

Completion of filing and subsequent procedure

2.16 Overview diagram

2.17 Plaintiff may pursue claim after exchange of information capsules or discontinue

Third and subsequent party notices

2.18 Grounds for joining other parties

2.19 Requirements of third party notice

2.20 Filing and service of third party notice

2.21 Restrictions on entering judgment and allocation of hearing date

2.22 Third party responses to be served within 20 working days

2.23 Service of application for leave

2.24 Setting aside notice

2.25 Default in filing response

2.26 Application of rules to fourth, etc, party notices


2.27 Counterclaim against plaintiff only

2.28 Counterclaim against plaintiff and another person

2.29 Further provisions about counterclaims, including High Court Rules applied

Claims between defendants

2.30 Right to give notice

2.31 Notice of claim to be filed and served

2.32 Response

2.33 Effect of omission to give notice

2.34 Application of rules relating to third and subsequent party notices


2.35 Right to file and serve reply

2.36 Contents of reply

2.37 Affirmative defence or positive allegation treated as being admitted unless denied

Service of documents

2.38 High Court Rules and other rules that apply

Amendment of pleadings

2.38A Filing of amended notice of claim or counterclaim before response served

2.38B Filing of amended pleading in other cases

Subpart 3How proceedings dealt with

Judgment by default or on formal proof

2.39 Application for judgment in case of default, discontinuance, admission of facts, or lack of defence

2.39A Applications using forms 6A and 6CCA

Start of trial allocation procedure

2.40 Court or Registrar to decide whether to allocate short trial

2.41 Criteria for deciding appropriate mode of trial

Availability of summary judgment

2.42 Summary judgment procedure generally

2.43 Procedural requirements relating to summary judgment applications

2.43A Particular rules about summary judgment

Short trial

2.44 Purpose of short trial

2.45 Features of short trial

2.46 Review of decision to allocate short trial

Conferences for simplified trial and full trial, and interlocutory matters

2.47 Judicial settlement conference

2.48 Judicial directions conference

2.49 Interlocutory applications

2.50 Striking out pleadings, staying or dismissing proceedings, and costs for want of prosecution

Simplified trial disclosure

2.51 Pre-trial disclosure and interlocutory applications for simplified trial

2.52 Witnesses at simplified trial

Simplified trial

2.53 Features of simplified trial

Full trial

2.54 Full trial follows High Court procedure

Part 3
Rules about particular aspects of proceedings

Subpart 1General rules about determining proper court, transferred proceedings, translations, and other matters

Proper court

3.1 How to determine proper court

Transfer from District Court to High Court

3.2 Transfer under section 43 of Act

3.3 Papers to be forwarded to High Court

Proceedings transferred from High Court

3.4 Transfer under section 46 of Act

Use of Māori language, translations, and sign language

3.5 Speaking in Māori

3.6 Translation of documents into te reo Māori

3.7 Failure to give notice

3.8 Translation may be ordered by court

3.9 Affidavit in language other than English

3.10 Sign language

Access to court documents

3.11 Interpretation

3.12 Application

3.13 General right of access to formal court record

3.14 Right of parties to access court file or documents

3.15 Access to documents during substantive hearing stage

3.16 Meaning of relevant deadline in rule 3.15

3.17 Access to court files, documents, and formal court record in other cases

3.18 Restrictions on access

3.19 Applications for permission to access documents, court file, or formal court record other than at hearing stage

3.20 Decisions on applications under rule 3.19

3.21 Review of decisions by Registrar

3.22 Matters to be taken into account

Hearings in chambers

3.23 Publication about hearing in chambers

Evidence by deposition

3.24 Order for examination of witness

3.25 Examination of witnesses

3.26 Objection to question

3.27 Refusal to attend and be sworn

3.28 Costs

3.29 Failure to appear

3.30 Deposition as evidence

Subpart 2Rules about lawyers' duties, funds in court, parties, incapacitated persons, interpleader, service, etc

Lawyers' duties

3.31 Lawyers' duties

Funds in court

3.32 Investment of funds in court


3.33 Parties generally

3.34 Incapacitated persons and litigation guardians

3.35 Change of parties and adjusting parties


3.36 Interpleader before judgment

Filing and signing documents

3.37 Authority to file and sign documents


3.38 Appearance

Set-off and counterclaim against Crown

3.39 Restriction on right of set-off or counterclaim

Service of documents

3.40 Prompt service required

3.41 Extension of time for service

3.42 Methods of service

3.43 Substituted service

3.44 Service generally

Recovery of specific property subject to security

3.45 Recovery of specific property

Subpart 3Rules about interlocutory applications, interrogatories, discovery, inspection, receivers, accounts and inquiries, affidavits, etc


3.46 Application of this subpart

Memorandums of consent

3.47 Consent instead of leave of court

Registrars' jurisdiction and powers under this subpart

3.48 Powers of Registrars

Conferences and directions

3.49 Case management conferences

3.50 Directions as to conduct of proceeding [Revoked]

Hearing, setting down, and counsel assisting

3.51 Allocation of hearing dates and close of pleadings dates, and counsel assisting

Interlocutory applications and orders

3.52 Interlocutory applications and interlocutory orders

Interim relief, preservation of property, receivers, interim payments

3.53 Interim relief

3.54 Interim preservation, etc, of property

3.55 Receivers

3.56 Interim payments


3.57 Arbitration by consent

Discovery and inspection

3.58 Discovery orders

3.59 Orders for particular discovery



3.60 Discovery: affidavits of documents, privilege, public interest

3.61 Discovery: inspection, copying, contempt


3.62 Evidentiary provisions related to discovery and inspection


3.63 Interrogatories

Admission of facts

3.64 Admission of facts


3.65 Briefs, oral evidence directions, and chronologies

3.66 Inspection and testing of property

3.67 Court-appointed experts

3.68 Expert evidence generally

3.69 Preserving evidence


3.70 Form and content of affidavits

3.71 Swearing or making of affidavits


3.72 Consolidation of proceedings

Separate decision of questions

3.73 Separate decisions

3.74 Removal into High Court

Accounts and inquiries

3.75 Accounts and inquiries

3.76 General provisions affecting accounts and inquiries

Section 62 or 62A reports

3.77 Report under section 62 or 62A of Act

Abandonment of excess

3.78 Abandonment of excess if more than $200,000 found due on taking of accounts

Part 4

4.1 Costs at discretion of court

4.2 Principles applying to determination of costs

4.3 Categorisation of proceedings

4.4 Appropriate daily recovery rates

4.5 Determination of reasonable time

4.6 Increased costs and indemnity costs

4.7 Refusal of, or reduction in, costs

4.8 Costs in interlocutory applications

4.9 Costs may be determined by different Judge

4.10 Written offers without prejudice except as to costs

4.11 Effect on costs

4.12 Disbursements

4.13 Joint and several liability for costs

4.14 Defendants defending separately

4.15 Claim and counterclaim both established

4.16 Set-off if costs allowed to both parties

4.17 Solicitor acting in person

4.18 Proceeding transferred from High Court

4.19 Enforcement of order for costs

Security for costs

4.20 Power to make order for security for costs

4.21 How security to be given

4.22 Solicitor not to be surety

4.23 Surety becoming bankrupt or insolvent

Part 5
Procedure in special cases

5.1 Application of this Part generally

5.2 Application of this Part to proceedings under Industrial and Provident Societies Act 1908

5.3 High Court Rules applied to proceedings under this Part

Part 6
Originating applications

6.1 Application of this Part

6.2 Starting proceedings

6.3 High Court Rules applied to proceedings under this Part

6.4 Directions as to service

Part 7
Proceedings under Harassment Act 1997

7.1 Application of Part

7.2 Interpretation

7.3 Construction

7.4 Procedure and practice

7.5 Application of rules in other Parts

7.6 Cases not provided for


7.7 Forms

7.8 Headings

Main applications

7.9 How to start proceedings

7.10 Form of main application

7.11 Documents accompanying main applications

7.12 Supporting affidavits

7.13 Number of copies to be filed

7.14 Request that residential address be kept confidential

7.15 Request that address of applicant’s solicitor be kept confidential

7.16 Proper court for filing main application

7.17 Proceedings started in wrong court

7.18 Procedure on filing main applications

Notice of defence

7.19 Requirement to file and serve notice of defence or address for service

7.20 Consequences of failure to file and serve notice of defence


7.21 Appointment of representative of certain minors

7.22 Applications against minors

7.23 Appointment of representative of person unable or unwilling to take proceeding

7.24 Effect of minor turning 17, marrying, or entering into civil union

7.25 Effect of ceasing to be unable or unwilling to take proceedings


7.26 Personal service of applications

7.27 Main applications served by Registrar

7.28 Parties may not effect service

7.29 Substituted service


7.30 Power of Judge to call conference

7.31 Orders and directions


7.32 Amendment before service

Transfer of proceeding or hearing

7.33 Transfer of proceeding

7.34 Transfer of hearing

7.35 Transfer with or without application

7.36 Procedure on transfer of proceeding

7.37 Procedure on transfer of hearing

Form of restraining order

7.38 Form of restraining order

Availability of records for criminal proceedings

7.39 Transfer of information to criminal court

Interlocutory applications

7.40 Interlocutory applications

7.41 Applications for extending time used as delaying tactic

Part 8
Proceedings under subpart 6 of Part 8 of Local Government Act 2002

8.1 Application of this Part

8.2 Interpretation

8.3 Application of rules in other Parts

Removal orders

8.4 Starting proceeding

8.5 Application for removal order

8.6 Procedure on applications for removal order

8.7 Removal orders

8.8 Service of removal order on respondent

8.9 Service of removal order on other parties

8.10 Mode of service of removal order

Notices of objection

8.11 Notice of objection

8.12 Manner in which notice of objection to be dealt with

Interlocutory applications

8.13 Interlocutory applications

8.14 Applications for extending time used as delaying tactic

Entry of land to enforce removal orders

8.15 Notice where land entered to enforce removal order

Part 9
Proceedings under Construction Contracts Act 2002


9.1 Application of this Part

9.2 Interpretation

9.3 Application of other rules and practice of court

Review of adjudicator’s determination in respect of owner who is not respondent

9.4 Form of application for review

9.5 Where to file application for review

9.6 Procedure after filing of application for review

9.7 Notice of opposition to application for review

9.8 Adjudicator to forward documents relating to adjudication proceedings on request

Enforcement of adjudicator’s determination

9.9 Application for adjudicator’s determination to be enforced

9.10 Service

9.11 Opposition to application for adjudicator’s determination to be enforced

Part 9A
Search warrants issued under Financial Markets Authority Act 2011


9A.1 Form of search warrant [Revoked]

Part 10
Proceedings in admiralty

10.1 Application of this Part

10.2 Interpretation

10.3 Application of other rules and practice of court

10.4 Preliminary acts to be filed in collision cases

10.5 Meaning of preliminary act

10.6 Notice of filing of preliminary act to be served on other parties

10.7 Registrar to seal and file preliminary acts

10.8 Failure to lodge preliminary act

10.9 Actions for limitation of liability

10.10 Inspection of ship or other property

Part 11
Entry of award as judgment under article 35 of Schedule 1 of Arbitration Act 1996

11.1 Interpretation

11.2 Entry of judgment where all parties agree

11.3 Entry of judgment in other cases

11.4 Application for entry of award as judgment

11.5 Affidavit to be filed in support

11.6 Service

11.7 Entry as judgment without notice in exceptional circumstances

11.8 Entry as judgment if defendant takes no steps

11.9 Opposition to entry as judgment

Part 12
Disposal of proceedings

Evidence at trial

12.1 How evidence to be given

12.2 Witness summons

12.3 Affidavit evidence by agreement

Evidence in trans-Tasman proceedings

12.4 Evidence in trans-Tasman proceedings

Procedure for giving evidence by affidavit

12.5 Procedure

Venue, adjournments, and appearances

12.6 Hearing

12.7 Adjournment

General rules about judgments

12.8 Judgment

12.9 Time for doing any act must be stated

12.10 Deed directed to be prepared

12.11 Certificate of judgment or order

12.12 Amount payable exceeds jurisdiction

12.13 Further proceedings after issue of certificate

12.14 Death, etc, of Judge before judgment


12.15 Power to order retrial

12.16 Application for retrial

Summary judgment procedure


12.17 Summary judgment [Revoked]


12.18 Dismissal for want of prosecution

Judgment on admission

12.19 Judgment on admission


12.20 Discontinuance

12.21 Restrictions on right to discontinue proceeding

Judgment by default

12.22 Application of rules 12.23 to 12.35 and effect of filing appearance

12.23 Interpretation

12.24 Liquidated demand

12.25 Land

12.26 Chattels

12.27 Hire purchase or conditional purchase agreement

12.28 Unliquidated demand

12.29 Evidence relating to damages

12.30 Other proceedings

12.31 Several causes of action

12.32 Several defendants

12.33 Affidavits to be filed

12.34 Judgment may be set aside or varied

12.35 Default judgment against the Crown

12.36 Overseas service cases

Part 13
Appeals to High Court

13.1 Agreement not to appeal

13.2 Leave to appeal

Part 14
Appeals to District Courts

14.1 Application of this Part

14.2 Interpretation

14.3 How to bring appeal

14.4 Judge may call conference and give directions

14.5 Time for appeal

14.6 Extension of time for appeal

14.7 Contents of notice of appeal

14.8 Place for filing notice of appeal

14.9 Service of copies of notice of appeal on other parties

14.10 Power to dispense with service

14.11 Appeal not to operate as stay

14.12 Cross-appeal

14.13 Documents to be lodged with Registrar

14.14 Order for transcript of evidence

14.15 Report by decision-maker

14.16 Rights of parties

Hearing of appeal

14.17 Appeal must be by rehearing

14.18 Powers of court in relation to evidence heard on appeal

14.19 Court has powers of decision-maker

14.20 Counsel assisting court

14.21 Appeals from decision arising from contested application

14.22 Appeals from decision arising from uncontested application

14.23 Powers of court hearing appeal

14.24 Dismissal of appeal

14.25 Registrar to notify decision of court

Part 15

Enforcement generally

15.1 Payment in reduction of amount

15.2 Sale of personal property

15.3 Examination of any party

15.4 Application by judgment creditor of partner

15.5 Application by partner of judgment debtor

15.6 Change of parties after judgment

15.7 Change of name, etc, of party after judgment

15.8 Application to Registrar for suspension of judgment, etc

15.9 Stay of judgment, etc

15.10 Discharge of person under section 98 of Act

15.11 Receipt to be attached to warrant

15.12 Bailiff to enforce warrants, etc

15.13 New order for payment of unsatisfied judgment

15.14 Application for civil enforcement process

Assessment of judgment debtors

15.15 Hearing in different court or place

15.16 Non-appearance of judgment creditor or witness at assessment hearing

15.17 Record of assessment hearing

15.18 Warrant of arrest

15.19 Review of Registrar’s decision

Contempt of enforcement proceedings

15.20 Contempt of enforcement proceedings

15.21 Hearing of contempt of enforcement proceedings if judgment debtor outside court district

Fees, costs, and expenses

15.22 Certain fees, costs, and expenses incurred by judgment creditor may be recovered

Charging orders

15.23 Interpretation

15.24 Application for charging order

15.25 Filing of application for charging order

15.26 Value of property exceeding $200,000

15.27 Charging order where amount involved small

15.28 Form of charging order

15.29 Application for relief by persons prejudicially affected

15.30 Claim of third person on property charged

15.31 Apportionment when more than 1 charging order

15.32 Charging order final in first instance

15.33 Registration of charging order under Land Transfer Act 1952

15.34 Registration of charging order under Deeds Registration Act 1908

15.35 Lodging of charging order under Mining Act 1971

15.36 Sale before registration of charging order

15.37 Discharge of land or mining privilege from charging order

15.38 Charging order expires after 2 years

15.39 Property other than land that may be charged

15.40 Interim charging order

15.41 Effect of interim charging order

15.42 Liability for breach of interim charging order

15.43 Money may be paid into court

15.44 Application to make interim charging order final

Miscellaneous provisions relating to charging orders

15.45 Costs of charging orders

15.46 Removal of final charging order to High Court

Warrants to seize property

15.47 Application for warrant to seize property

15.48 Order of priority

15.49 Issue, duration, and renewal

15.50 Enforcement against firm

15.51 Concurrent warrants to seize property

15.52 Costs of warrants to seize property

15.53 Holding over enforcement and withdrawing from possession

15.54 Reissue of warrant to seize property

15.55 Possession fees

15.56 Bailiff to make inventory

15.57 Accounts of sale

15.58 Bailiff to furnish statements to Registrar

15.59 Court may order enforcement on returned warrant to seize property

15.60 Application for private sale

Delivery of chattels

15.61 Warrant for recovery of chattels

15.62 Warrant of committal

15.63 Warrant to seize property for value of chattels and for damages, etc

15.64 Where possession ordered to be taken until security given

Recovery of land

15.65 Warrant to recover land

Warrant of committal

15.66 Judgment or order enforceable by committal

15.67 Application for warrant of committal

15.68 Discharge of person in custody

15.69 Release on bail pending hearing of application for discharge from custody

Garnishee proceedings

15.70 Interpretation

15.71 Garnishee proceeding

15.72 Where debt exceeds $200,000

15.73 Starting proceeding

15.74 Service and effect of service

15.75 Statement to be filed by sub-debtor in respect of deposit or other accounts

15.76 Payment into court by sub-debtor

15.77 Payment out of court of money paid by sub-debtor

15.78 Garnishee order where sub-debtor does not pay into court or appear

15.79 Order in other cases

15.80 Where debt stated to belong to third party

15.81 Garnishee orders in respect of deposit and other accounts

15.82 Discharge of sub-debtor as against judgment debtor

15.83 Court may refuse order

15.84 Where money due by sub-debtor under judgment or order

15.85 Money in court

15.86 Debts owing by firm

15.87 Costs

15.88 Garnishee proceeding against the Crown

Third party claim process relating to enforcement

15.89 Notice of claim

15.90 Notice to enforcement creditor

15.91 Appraisement

15.92 Admission of claim

15.93 Order protecting bailiff

15.94 Starting proceeding

15.95 Service

15.96 Security for costs where claimant does not reside in New Zealand

15.97 Particulars and grounds of claim to be lodged

15.98 Withdrawal or admission

15.99 Claim for damages by claimant

15.100 Claim for damages by enforcement creditor

15.101 Payment into court where damages claimed

Writs of arrest

15.102 Application for writ

15.103 Form of writ and procedure

Proceedings by and against executors and administrators

15.104 Costs where executor sues and fails

15.105 Judgment and enforcement against executor or administrator

15.106 Assets after judgment

Miscellaneous provisions relating to transmission and authentication of documents, etc

15.107 How documents may be sent

15.108 Authentication of documents

Part 16
Penal and disciplinary provisions

16.1 Proceedings on complaint of assault or rescue

16.2 Misconduct or neglect of officers

16.3 Witnesses and costs

16.4 Non-attendance, etc, of witness

16.5 Notice before imposing or enforcing fine

16.6 Contempt of court

16.7 Enforcement of fine

Part 17
Revocation and transitional provisions

17.1 Revocation

17.2 Transitional provisions

Schedule 1

Schedule 2
Appropriate daily recovery rates

Schedule 3
Time allocations

Gazette information

District Courts Amendment Rules 2010

Reprint notes