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Improvement of trans-Tasman court enforcement

Hon Clayton Cosgrove
Associate Minister of Justice

13 December 2006 Media Statement

Ministers welcome proposals to improve trans-Tasman enforcement of court judgments

Joint media statement with the Australian Attorney-General Philip Ruddock

Australian Attorney-General Philip Ruddock and New Zealand Associate Justice Minister Clayton Cosgrove today welcomed the release of the final report by the Trans-Tasman Working Group on Court Proceedings and Regulatory Enforcement.

The report recommends reforms to improve civil court proceedings and the enforcement of civil court judgments across the Tasman. It also proposes to expand the range of enforceable judgments.

The Ministers said the reforms if agreed to, would mean an unprecedented level of co-operation between Australia and New Zealand in civil court proceedings.

“This level of co-operation can only be contemplated because we have such mutual trust and confidence in each other’s legal systems,” they said.

The Ministers also said the reforms would help resolve trans-Tasman disputes more effectively and at lower cost.

“The proposals aim to bring benefits across the board, for both private individuals involved in trans-Tasman legal disputes and for those conducting business across the Tasman. The recommended reforms would support closer economic relations between Australia and New Zealand and contribute to the significant progress being made on single economic market issues.”

The proposed reforms would also increase the effectiveness of each country’s regulatory rules in areas of mutual benefit, such as the rules that apply to securities offerings made to the public. The reforms would extend to criminal fines for certain offences under these regulatory rules, but not to criminal fines generally.

The Working Group was established by the Australian and New Zealand Prime Ministers in 2003 and is made up of senior officials from both countries. The Working Group released a discussion paper in August 2005 inviting views on possible options for reform. The submissions received in response to that paper were generally supportive of the Working Group’s proposals, which are reflected in the final report.

The New Zealand and Australian Governments will now consider the report’s recommendations. If both countries agree to go ahead, there will be further consultation with interested parties as part of the implementation process.

Copies of the report are available at www.ag.gov.au and www.justice.govt.nz
Printed copies will also be available shortly from the Australian Attorney-General's Department and the New Zealand Ministry of Justice.

ENDS

See... Summary of Trans-Tasman Working Group Recommendations (PDF)

A copy of the full report is available on the Ministry of Justice website.

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