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Proposals to improve court judgment enforcement

1 August 2005

Proposals to improve court judgment enforcement

A trans-Tasman working group has released a discussion paper with proposals for improving the enforcement of court judgments between Australia and New Zealand.

Associate Justice Minister Marian Hobbs said these proposals could lead to much greater co-operation between Australia and New Zealand in civil court proceedings.

"The ideas and proposals in this discussion paper could benefit organisations that conduct business across the Tasman and individuals caught up in trans-Tasman legal disputes," Marian Hobbs said. "New Zealand and Australia have a great deal of trust and confidence in each other's legal systems, which share a common heritage. This trust and confidence is reflected in existing legal co-operation regimes and these proposals will build on their success.

"Greater co-operation could help resolve trans-Tasman disputes more efficiently, effectively and at a lower cost, ultimately further reducing barriers to trans-Tasman trade. It will also help people resolve some personal disputes where one party has moved across the Tasman (eg, matrimonial property disputes)."

The discussion paper also proposes changes that would make it possible to enforce civil penalties and certain criminal fines for regulatory offences across the Tasman. This means, for example, that an organisation based in New Zealand but operating in Australia could not escape penalties or fines imposed by Australian courts, and vice versa. These proposals will increase the effectiveness of each country’s regulatory rules in areas where this is of mutual benefit – for example, the rules applying to securities offerings to the public.

The Trans-Tasman Working Group was established by the Australian and New Zealand Prime Ministers in 2003 and is made up of senior officials from both countries.

Submissions on the proposals are invited by 4 November 2005. The Working Group will consider the submissions it receives and will then make recommendations to the Australian and New Zealand Governments.

Copies of the discussion paper are available at www.justice.govt.nz.

ENDS

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