How The Central Authority Works in New Zealand

Written by: Undisputed Legal Inc.

This article will provide guidance on How The Central Authority Works in New Zealand.  Regarding serving foreign papers, New Zealand is not a part of the Hague Service Convention. In New Zealand, papers may be served in several methods, including personal service, international registered mail with return receipt sought, and letters rogatory. A private process service agency like Undisputed Legal can serve your papers in countries without the Hague Service Convention. Our local process servers have served documents across the world. With our experience, we can adhere to regional and international requirements for document service. Click Here for Frequently Asked Questions About Process Servers!

Despite acceding to the Hague Adoption, Apostille, and Child Abduction Conventions, New Zealand is not a party to the Hague Service Convention (HSC). Serving papers in New Zealand is relatively uncomplicated since the country is a Commonwealth of Nations member and a former British colony, even if it is not a part of the HSC. Click here for information on How To Identify A Good Process Service Agency

Understanding How A Central Authority Works

The District Court that is geographically closest to the claimant’s residence or the property in issue will have jurisdiction if the defendant is not a New Zealand resident or business owner. Unless the case is moved to another District Court, all subsequent petitions must be filed at the same place. Click here for information on How Rush Process Service Can Expedite Your Case.

A registration transfer might be requested if the case was filed in the wrong register or if another court’s registry would be better suited. In New Zealand, it is mandatory to provide prior notice of the proceeding to everyone who is either named as a defendant or is likely to be sued. The competent official or judicial officer under the legislation of the State from where the papers originate will send the service requests.  Although the Convention does not require it, several nations use their Central Authorities to send requests and receive them. However, some nations follow the premise that all outbound requests must come directly from a court. Click here for information on How Service of Process Ensures A Solid Foundation.

Unless it violates the laws of the nation receiving the request, the Central Authority will conduct the process according to the specific form of service requested. Delivery to an addressee who accepts it freely or in the way provided by domestic law may be used to serve defendants in all other situations. The Central Authority must notify the applicant of the grounds when a request does not meet the Convention’s requirements. The main reason to deny a request that complies is if fulfilling it would violate the receiving state’s sovereignty or security. Click here for information on How Process Servers Protect Your Rights: Myths Debunked

New Zealand Law: The Present Scenario

The serving process is the cornerstone of a court’s authority to hear a case under common law. Once service has been made, the court will have jurisdiction. We at Undisputed Legal aim to make the service of these papers as effective as possible. Even when the defendant is a citizen of the common law country, the service of foreign process has not been hindered since the burden of proof rests with the parties to the action. Further, civil law nations may object on sovereignty grounds to the unregulated serving of foreign processes inside their territory. Since serving papers across borders is often delicate, a private process service agency like Undisputed Legal can be the best way forward.   Click here for information on How To Overcome Language Barriers in Process Service 

The Law Commission laid out the conditions under which notice might be given to a defendant who is not situated in New Zealand. The method for serving notice of proceedings on a defendant outside of New Zealand is the same as that for service within New Zealand under HCR 222. If a protocol already exists, the Registrar must forward the request and any supporting materials to the Chief Executive of the Department for Courts, who will subsequently relay them to the relevant national body. Click here for information on How Timelines Are Important in Process Serving.

Ministry of Justice in New Zealand

The Ministry of Justice, also known as Te Tāhū o te Ture in Māori, is an executive branch agency of the New Zealand government that oversees the country’s legal system and its enforcement. Furthermore, the Pitcairn Islands (technically British Overseas Territories) and Tokelau (New Zealand territory) are so close that the New Zealand Ministry of Justice may also manage the judicial system in both countries.

Andrew Kibblewhite, the Secretary for Justice and Chief Executive, heads a ten-person Strategic Leadership Team inside the Ministry of Justice. It oversees the Public Defence Service, legal assistance, and the judicial system. The current government receives guidance on legal matters and proposed legislation from the Ministry’s several policy teams. Concerning issues of foreshore and seabed, as well as Treaty of Waitangi discussions, the teams investigate and assess constitutional, criminal, and civil law policies. As another entity within the justice system, the New Zealand Law Commission offers guidance on matters related to law and justice. In contrast to the Ministry of Justice, the Law Commission operates autonomously. The current government’s policies are passed into law by the current government, and the MOJ is ultimately responsible for implementing and administering these policies.

Several vital programs have been proposed by the Ministry and incorporated as official government policy. Administrative and technical support for judges is provided by the Ministry, which also oversees the allocation of funds for judicial training and development as it assists the executive and judicial branches of government, the Ministry’s functioning complex. It works with the courts to preserve its constitutional autonomy from the government. Undisputed Legal ensures that we serve papers according to the Ministry’s requirements.

The Ministry likewise leads the whole judicial system. It collaborates with other Crown institutions, including the New Zealand Police, the Department of Corrections, the Ministry of Social Development, the Law Commission, and others, in this capacity. 

All citizens of New Zealand have access to justice via the services provided by the Ministry of Justice. Protecting individual liberties, outlining criminal behavior and the consequences for transgression, and enforcing the laws governing our nation are all functions of New Zealand’s justice and legal system.

The Ministry has outlined three goals, and its mission is [A.] safer communities, [B.] increased trust in the justice system, and [C.] maintaining the integrity of New Zealand’s constitutional arrangements. Working for the executive, the legislature, and the independent judiciary—the Ministry is unique among New Zealand’s public sector agencies in that they serve all three branches.

The Ministry also provides aid with various problems, including victim assistance, offender accountability, and human rights, via the development of justice policy and providing advice to Ministers and Cabinet. The Ministry is in charge of the justice sector, which collaborates to decrease crime and recidivism and includes the agencies of the New Zealand Police, the Department of Corrections, and the Crown Law Office. 

Serving documents in New Zealand is subject to stringent rules varying across courts. Consequently, our undisputed legal process servers have to be well-versed in the regulations set out by the Ministry of Justice to serve the documents correctly. The United States Consulate General in Auckland is the only location where American citizens may get consular services.

Serving a US defendant in New Zealand

There are three ways to serve the process in the United States (and, most likely, Canada): by regular mail, through Letters Rogatory, or a private process server, depending on the regulations of the forum court. A process server is essential in almost every case because of the importance of always being prepared to enforce a judgment. 

The majority of U.S. courts permit service by mail on overseas defendants in cases where such service is already permissible, provided that doing so does not violate the regulations of the foreign jurisdiction. While the High Court Rules of New Zealand do not expressly forbid mail service, they also do not address how mail service should be accomplished without a post office box.

The forum court formally requests judicial assistance from a New Zealand court in a letter rogatory. Typically, service in New Zealand will cost over USD 2,275, payable to the Department of State. Then, after submitting your request via diplomatic channels, parties will have to wait a few months for a response. A Letter Rogatory is unnecessary to guarantee that service is carried out by New Zealand law.

There are substantial service issues in several non-Hague countries. Among these locations, New Zealand stands out as one of the easiest to serve, whether you’re a member of the Hague community or not. Any way allowed or mandated by a convention may be used to ask the court to serve a foreign procedure on someone in New Zealand.

Court fees are not to be imposed for filing documents, doing service-related acts, or certifying service where service conforms with a convention. It is customary for a foreign court to use diplomatic channels to send a letter requesting service of process on any person in New Zealand involved in a civil matter currently before that foreign court. The Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Trade then forwards the letter to the Secretary for Justice, who in turn forwards it to the Registrar, making it clear that the request should be granted

How does New Zealand handle process service?

In some countries, the service of originating papers is only allowed via formal means. Official channels in some nations will only accept foreign papers for service if a convention is in place with the government making the request. The ability to serve proceedings in these countries would be possible if New Zealand became a party to the Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents. The question, therefore, becomes one of convenience, time, and cost in other common-law nations and those with an existing convention. 

The plaintiff is required to serve almost all New Zealand Process Service documents filed with the High Court in New Zealand. Statements of claim, notices of proceedings, lists of documents, and commencing applications must be served by our private process servers at Undisputed Legal. 

Another option for serving documents is to send them to the other party’s stated address or to leave them at that address between 9 am and 5 pm. Suppose the opposite party provides a post office box, document exchange box, email address, or fax number for service. In that case, the person must file a specific New Zealand process service application. 

Notifications must be personally delivered or sent to the recipient’s usual or last-known residence or place of work to comply with service. Service in New Zealand can also be accomplished by sending prepaid mail to the person’s usual or last known residence or place of business or by personal delivery. Crown organizations may be served by personally delivering New Zealand Process Service to their headquarters or by forwarding it to the primary office’s specified fax or email address.

Unless proven otherwise, the time a person receives a notice or other document is deemed to be the same as the moment a letter would have been sent in the usual course of postal service. Returning the notification to the sender after posting it could void its service.

Civil Procedure in New Zealand

The filing of information charges is the first step in the prosecutorial process. Instructions for delivering a summons may be found in the 1957 Summary Proceedings Act. A summons is typically sent to the defendant. The date and time of the hearing are detailed in the summons. Anyone wishing to serve summonses in New Zealand must first get authorization from the Registrar of Process Servers; this authority is not granted to constables or court personnel. Our Undisputed Legal process servers are located in New Zealand. We cover all our bases while conducting service in the country.

Suppose someone needs to serve a document in New Zealand. In that case, there are a few ways it can be done: [A.] either serving it to the recipient or bringing it to their attention if they refuse to accept it; [B.] leaving it at the recipient’s residence with someone who looks to be at least fourteen years old; [C.] sending it to the recipient at their place of business or employment with someone else, using prepaid post addressed to the recipient’s last known residence or company; or [D.] sending it to the recipient electronically if they have a known electronic address.

Anyone having a hand in running or making decisions for a Crown organization or corporate body is considered a server. There are certain cases when a person has to be physically present to receive court documents so they may respond within a reasonable period. Before delivering the documents, the process server must also get the recipient’s acknowledgment of service and gather signed evidence of service.

Together with our colleagues in the justice system and the courts, we are striving to create a society in New Zealand that is both safe and fair.

Notary in New Zealand

It is customary to check your signature on papers before sending them abroad. A notary is essential to verify your documents. A notary is capable of certifying papers. Original papers presented to a notary may have their authenticity verified. The notary would verify the identities of customers and witnesses in the presence of valid government-issued identification documents. 

Notary publics are senior lawyers appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury to witness the official signing of legal documents, confirm copies of those documents, gather sworn statements, and administer oaths where the papers will be used abroad. They can also protest or note a bill of exchange. An embossing tool, sometimes known as a seal, is used by a notary public to confirm their attendance when the papers are signed.

The services of a Justice of the Peace are often limited to papers that will be utilized inside New Zealand. Notarization is usually necessary if the documents are going to be utilized abroad. In New Zealand, a lawyer known as a notary public (sometimes spelled “notary” or “public notary”) can be appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury in England to validate legal documents, collect sworn statements, administer oaths, and witness signatures.

An embossing tool, sometimes known as a seal, is used by a notary public to confirm their attendance when the papers are signed. Carrying official identification, such as a passport or picture driver’s license, is essential while visiting a notary public. A notary public must also be present when a document requests notarizing a particular identification document. After a notary has signed a document, sending it to Wellington’s Department of Internal Affairs may be necessary for authentication.

Judiciary members, including notaries, the public, and justices of the peace, play crucial roles in society. Their services are available to anybody who needs crucial papers certified or who has a contract that requires a witness signing. JPs and notaries may certify official copies of original documents and witness signatures. 

Similar to a judge, a notary public may perform ministerial functions. However, a notary’s responsibilities are slightly broadened since no one else can attest to the validity of legal papers that will be relied upon globally.

Documents intended for usage outside of New Zealand sometimes need a Notary’s certification as to their legitimacy. To confirm that the document is a genuine or true copy of an original, a notary public would often affix a notarial certificate over it.

Since officials abroad cannot verify the legitimacy of New Zealand-issued documents visually, additional authentication by the relevant embassy and by New Zealand’s Department of Internal Affairs (“DIA”) may be required before specific New Zealand-issued documents can be utilized abroad. This is in addition to the Notarial Certificate. Nations that have ratified the Hague Convention no longer need to legalize public papers issued by foreign entities; these nations may issue Apostille Certificates instead. 

Power of Attorney in New Zealand

A durable power of attorney (EPA) designates a third party to handle your financial and personal affairs if you cannot do so. The donor of the POA will assign a donee to become a power of attorney. If a donee needs guidance on how to use their authority, the Court may supply it, and it can also mediate disputes involving EPAs. By executing a power of attorney, the donor provides another person the legal capacity to act on their behalf. 

Somebody else will have to make choices on the donor’s behalf if they are unable or unwilling to do so due to an accident or other circumstance. For short-term needs, a general power of attorney is adequate. General powers of attorney expire upon the holder’s loss of mental ability.

An enduring power of attorney (EPA) is a good choice for protection that lasts beyond loss of mental ability. There is an EPA for material possessions and money and another for health and well-being. It is possible to designate separate attorneys to handle property, care, and welfare matters or to use the same counsel for both.

While mentally competent, you can change, suspend, or revoke a power of attorney. Every one of these things requires a unique set of steps. When canceling a power of attorney, it is essential to acquire legal counsel. Regarding health and welfare matters, it is common for partners to be named as attorneys. A trustee company, a trusted friend, lawyer, or accountant who is in good health and should survive should be your first choice if you are single. 

All EPAs must be granted using standard forms. A witness must be present when the donor signs. A donor’s signature cannot be submitted without a “certificate of witness” that attests to its authenticity. The certificate verifies that they were informed of specific issues before signing and that the witness is impartial and has no grounds to infer mental incapacity on the party’s behalf.


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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 New Zealand 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. Rules 219–220 of the High Court and Rules 242-243 of the District Court (which are the same as the HCR

2. With the exception that HCR 224 specifies the process to be followed

3. Request letters from non-Commonwealth nations’ courts or tribunals are addressed according to the processes outlined in HCR 213. These Rules were derived from the 1883 English Rules of the Supreme Court.

4. According to the Ministry’s website: “The Ministry provides administration, case management and support services to the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, High Court, District Court, special jurisdictions, and a range of tribunals and authorities in 103 locations around New Zealand” .

5. The following must be included in a request letter: 

  1. the English version of it in the event that it is not already in English; and 
  2. Two copies of the document or citation that has to be served; and
  3. Two English or translated copies of the procedure or reference.

6. Service on a Minister in New Zealand is defined as serving a notice or other document on the Chief Executive of the appropriate government department or ministry. Any notice or other document that is to be served on a body (whether incorporated or not) in New Zealand is deemed served upon an officer of the body or upon its registered office. When serving a partnership, it is acceptable to present the notice to one partner; nonetheless, this is considered as if served on the whole partnership.

7. It is within the purview of a Notary Public to:

  1. Swear affidavits, administer oaths, and take declarations
  2. Observe the process of document execution
  3. Validate both the authenticity of papers and their duplicates.
  4. Verify the legitimacy of papers

8. The Common Law Association of Notaries, which includes notariats from England and Wales, British Columbia, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand, is of which the New Zealand Society of Notaries is a member.

9.If a New Zealand Notary is asked to notarize a document that is not in their native language, they must get an official translation:
Due to my lack of familiarity with the terminology used to write the accompanying [Special Power of Attorney], I am unable to attest to its accuracy. Solely the apprehension of [witness name] and the attestation of his or her signature are included inside this Notarial Service.


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