This article will provide guidance on the Code of Civil Procedure in the Pitcairn Islands. The Pitcairn Islands are located in the South Pacific and are a British Overseas Territory. The legal system of the Pitcairn Islands is based on British common law, with the local laws and regulations derived from the Pitcairn Islands Act 2016. The islands' government is a representative parliamentary democracy with the Mayor at the helm. The Local Government Ordinance of 1964 serves as the supreme law of the region. The Pitcairn Islands have less than five hundred residents, making it the world's smallest democracy.

As a small and remote territory, Pitcairn does not have a large legal system, and limited legal services are available on the island. This can make it difficult for individuals and businesses to access legal services, particularly when serving documents. This is where a private process service agency like Undisputed Legal can be helpful. We have the expertise and resources to serve legal documents in the Pitcairn Islands, ensuring that the legal process is carried out properly and efficiently.


Auckland, New Zealand, is home to the nation's administrative hub. Governor's Representatives are territorial officials appointed by the Governor to represent the Governor in their jurisdiction. The Commissioner is the intermediary between the Governor and the Island Council, runs day-to-day operations, and revives the island's economy. Since 1999, the mayor of Pitcairn has handled daily operations in place of the Governor and the Commissioner, who do not reside on the island. The Governor is responsible for naming the Island Magistrate. 

In accordance with the Constitution of the Pitcairn Islands, the Pitcairn Islands' Attorney General is appointed for a certain term and acts as the government's primary legal advisor. The Island Court is typically presided over by the island magistrate, who the Governor nominates for a three-year term; however, there have been many non-resident judges in the previous five years.  While the legislation of Pitcairn calls for a Supreme Court, no justices have ever been nominated to the position; hence the court has never had a session. Yet the Court was activated as part of the constitutional and legal provisions for the abovementioned trial.

According to rules set out by the Pitcairn courts, the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal may hold hearings on the islands or in any other nation or place where such hearings are permitted. The Privy Council, the island's highest court, hears final appeals in Pitcairn. The Privy Council's appellate power, which had previously existed only under common law, was formally recognized by an Order in Council issued in 2000. The Pitcairn judges and almost all lawyers admitted to the Bar are either current or former New Zealand judges or lawyers.


Thus far, New Zealand judges have been promoted to serve on the country's highest courts. It has been customary to nominate New Zealand District Court justices to serve on Pitcairn's Supreme Court, with retired superior court judges making up the Court of Appeal. Pitcairn has an ad hoc court system that meets as necessary. A Pitcairn court in New Zealand has the authority to hear criminal cases from Pitcairn. With the approval of the New Zealand Minister of Justice, Pitcairn criminal cases may be held in New Zealand thanks to a treaty signed between the two countries in 2002. This permission was granted in connection with a string of criminal cases between 2004 and 2007. Several of these assault trials took place on the Island, but preliminary hearings and appeals were handled in New Zealand (that is, by Pitcairn courts sitting in New Zealand ).

Pitcairn is a British overseas colony; hence, the two countries have no official connection. Geographical convenience and the fact that Pitcairn has been in communication with New Zealand (and, to a lesser degree Australia) through maritime lines for the whole of the Island's history are the primary reasons for its government being based in that country. Pitcairn Island was and still is within reach of ships making the journey between New Zealand and the Panama Canal. 

According to the Constitution, the Attorney-General is appointed for a certain number of years or until they reach mandatory retirement age. The Constitution grants the Attorney-General the power to bring criminal charges against individuals and to assume control of criminal processes brought by others. The office of Pitcairn Public Prosecutor was established by law. The Attorney General often delegates authority to the Pitcairn Public Prosecutor to make judgments in criminal cases.


Issuing a writ of summons marks the beginning of a civil proceeding. At the claimant's request, a Magistrate will issue a writ of summons to initiate a civil. A written application is not always required to issue a summons, but every writ of a summons should be in writing and contain the name, address, and occupation of the plaintiff and the person against whom the claim is made. The summons should also include the date and place of the hearing and must have the endorsed particulars of the claim in respect of which it is issued and signed by the plaintiff. Each summons should state the claim's subject matter and the relief briefly sought.

The date of issuance must be printed on every summons issued. A writ of summons must be served in the same way as a criminal summons, which is at least eight clear days before the day it fixes for the hearing. If no party to a civil action attends on the day scheduled for the hearing, the Magistrate shall, absent good cause to the contrary, dismiss the case. All writs and processes issued by the Court must be stamped or sealed with the seal or stamp of the Court. A Magistrate will preside over the Court, and two assessors are appointed thereinafter. The Magistrate has exclusive authority to determine the appropriate sentence in all criminal proceedings.

Every Magistrate has the authority to issue writs of summons to initiate court proceedings, to administer oaths and take solemn affirmations and declarations, to receive production of books and documents, to make such decrees and orders, to issue such process, and to exercise such judicial and administrative powers in relation to the administration of justice as may from time to time be prescribed by any ordinance or by any special order of the Chief Justice.

There are several reasons why an individual or business may need to serve legal documents in Pitcairn. For example, if someone is involved in a legal dispute with a Pitcairn resident or business, they may need to serve court documents such as a writ of summons, a statement of claim, or a subpoena. At Undisputed Legal, we make sure that we can help to navigate the legal process in Pitcairn, ensuring that the correct procedures are followed and that documents are served in a timely and efficient manner. We aim to guide parties to the local laws and regulations, helping ensure the legal process runs smoothly.


The date of issuance must be printed on every summons issued. All summonses should be served in the same way as criminal summonses, which is to say, at least eight clear days before the day established by it for the hearing. The Court may conduct a preliminary inquiry to determine if there is sufficient evidence to put a person on trial by the Supreme Court whenever charges have been made against them for an offense not triable by it.

A copy of the deposition must be sent to the other parties by the prosecutor or on their behalf before the Magistrate investigates the alleged offense,. Suppose the deposition refers to any other document as an exhibit. In that case, the copy given to any other party to the proceedings must be accompanied by a copy of that document or by such information as may be necessary to enable the party to whom it is given to inspect that document.

The portion of any deposition admitted in evidence pursuant to this section shall be read aloud at the hearing. Where the Court so directs, an account shall be given orally of the portion of any deposition that is not read aloud. Any document or other item identified in a deposition will be handled as if it had been presented as an exhibit and identified in Court by the person whose testimony is taken as a deposition. The Pitcairn Islands has a resident magistrate responsible for hearing and determining cases in the territory. Before filing a complaint, it is important to determine whether the resident magistrate or a higher court should hear the case. A written statement must be filed with the appropriate court to initiate a complaint. The statement should provide a clear and concise summary of the facts and legal basis for the complaint. In Pitcairn, complaints are usually filed with the Island Magistrate. 

Service of process can be complex in Pitcairn due to the territory's remote location. At Undisputed Legal, we can help ensure the complaint is served properly.


Process service in Pitcairn must notify a party (such as a defendant), the court, or an administrative body of a first legal action so that the party or body may take appropriate action in response to the action before the court, body, or other tribunals. 

Undisputed Legal ensures that we are well aware of the specifications of service in the Pitcairn Islands. Service is possible through the postal system, diplomatic/consular agents, courts, government officials, and other competent persons in accordance with the Hague Service Convention. Each member state must use the Central Agency (Article 5) to issue documents. The Central Agency's services typically take four to twelve months to complete. If, after six months, the plaintiffs still have not received a certificate of service or delivery from the Central Agency, they still have recourse under the treaty. After sufficient time, the Court may now issue its ruling. In urgent instances, the court may issue a temporary injunction or protective order before the six-month time has elapsed.

The person's address to be served is known if a judicial or extrajudicial document must be conveyed from one Contracting Party to another. The Convention will apply if the matter is civil or commercial and the document being served is civil. This means that the Convention's prescribed routes for transmission must be used if the aforementioned requirements are met. 

For a document to be served in Pitcairn, it must be handled by proper authority in line with the laws of the Contracting Party that has requested the service. The applicant (i.e., the forwarding authority of the requesting Contracting Party) may request a specific technique or procedure so long as doing so does not run afoul of the laws of the requested Contracting Party. It is important to involve Undisputed Legal to serve your papers since we can help to protect your rights and interests. Serving legal documents can be a sensitive issue. At Undisputed Legal, we make it our responsibility to ensure that your documents are served properly and that your rights are protected, providing a neutral and professional service focused on achieving the best outcome for your case.


Documents can be faxed at (800) 296-0115, emailed to, or uploaded on our website. We do require prepayment and accept all major credit and debit cards. Once payment is processed, your sales receipt is immediately emailed for your records.

Drop-offs must call and make an appointment first to be added to building security to permit access to our office. Documents for service must be in a sealed envelope with payment in the form of a money order or attorney check (WE DO NOT ACCEPT CASH) payable to UNDISPUTED LEGAL INC.; Our receptionist will receive all documents.


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Pick up the phone and call Toll Free (800) 774-6922 or click the service you want to purchase. Our dedicated team of professionals is ready to assist you. We can handle all your Pitcairn Islands process service needs; no job is too small or too large!

Contact us for more information about our process-serving agency. We are ready to provide service of process to all our clients globally from our offices in New York, Brooklyn, Queens, Long Island, Westchester, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Washington, D.C.

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1. The Island Council of the Pitcairn Islands is made up of ten people: the Mayor and the Chairman of the Island Council, who are both ex officio members; four people elected by popular vote; one person co-opted by the Chairman and the four other elected members; two people appointed by the Governor, including the Island Secretary (ex officio); and a Commissioner (non-resident) who acts as a liaison between the Council and the Governor. Each member serves a one-year term, with the exception of the Mayor, who serves for three years, and the Island Secretary, who serves indefinitely.

2. The Pitcairn sexual assault cases required a special court system, and these judges were selected to serve in that system.

3. New Zealand attorneys were admitted to the Pitcairn bar to represent and advise defendants in criminal trials between 2005 and 2007.

A team of human rights consultants has visited Pitcairn twice as part of an effort by the Commonwealth Fund, and its members have provided feedback and advice to the Island Council on the Constitution and proposed laws.

4. The Pitcairn Islands Government (a phrase used more generally to indicate the office of the Governor in cooperation with the Island Council) relies on the Attorney-General for legal counsel.

Creating Legislation The Attorney General writes the Pitcairn government's ordinances at the Governor's direction. The Attorney-General of Pitcairn is also in charge of updating the legislation on a yearly basis.

5. Upon evidence on oath of delivery of the writ of summons upon the defendant, the Magistrate may. if the plaintiff attends and the defendant does not appear and does not accept the truth of the plaintiff's claim—

  1. hear and decide matters without assessors, basing their decision on the testimony of the plaintiff and their witnesses (if any);
  2. in cases where the Magistrate sits with assessors, the Court shall select the two assessors in the same manner as that prescribed for criminal cases and, having done so, shall proceed to hear and determine the case, giving judgment on the evidence of the plaintiff and his or her witnesses, if any:

6. A court clerk's duties include (but are not limited to) the following: 

  1. appearing at all sittings of the Court as the Magistrate may direct; 
  2. completing or causing to be completed summonses, warrants, orders, convictions, recognizances, writs of summons, writs of execution, and other documents and submitting the same for signature by the Magistrate; 
  3. issuing civil process in accordance with the provisions of this ordinance; 

7. For the last five years, the island court has often been presided over by a non-resident magistrate. The island magistrate serves a three-year term after being appointed by the governor. The Court was convened in accordance with constitutional and judicial arrangements for the aforesaid trial, but it was never actually utilised.

8. Documents under Articles 8–10 may be legally served in the jurisdictions of participating countries regardless of whether such governments have approved these procedures