Raynor v Marris [2018] NZDC 9933

Published 17 May 2019

Enforcement of judgment debt over 6 years — District Court Act 2016, ss 140 & 141. The judgment creditors sought leave for the enforcement of an order that was over six years old. The judgment debt, totalling $2,343.42, arose from an unpaid Tenancy Tribunal order made in August 2011. On three separate occasions, the judgment creditor filed applications for an order for examination. The costs of each order for examination were $408.80, however, each hearing was abandoned because the judgment debtors resumed paying the agreed instalments. At issue was that the debt was now more than six years old, the judgment debt was ordered as a fixed amount rather than an order for payment by instalment and the judgment debt had now been paid in full. The judgment creditors sought to recover the costs relating to enforcement. Sections 140 and 141 of the District Court Act govern the enforcement of debts over six years old. Section 141 provides for defaults on instalments made according to an order. While the judgment debtors had made a payment within the last 12 months, satisfying s 140, the debt failed to satisfy s 141 as there was no order for instalments — the order sought to be enforced was for a fixed sum. The question was then whether the judgment creditor could recover costs incurred in attempts to enforce the judgment debt. It was found that there was no basis for including the costs of enforcement of the judgment; the examination hearings had been abandoned in favour of an informal instalment agreement and the creditor had taken no steps to gain the debtor's agreement to pay enforcement costs nor had they sought judgment for those costs. The application was dismissed. Judgment Date: 21 May 2018.