Useful civil legislation

Legislation that is commonly applied in the District Court’s civil jurisdiction includes:

Consumer Guarantees Act 1993
An Act to protect the interests of consumers and encourage effective competition between businesses. Includes guarantees in respect of the supply of goods and services; and rights of redress against suppliers and manufacturers of goods.

Contract and Commercial Law Act 2017
An Act with the purpose of re-enacting, in an up-to-date and accessible form, certain legislation relating to:

(a) contracts; and
(b) the sale of goods; and
(c) electronic transactions; and
(d) the carriage of goods; and
(e) various other commercial matters, including mercantile agents and bills of lading.

Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance Act 2003
The primary purpose of this Act is to protect the interests of consumers in connection with credit contracts, consumer leases, and buy-back transactions of land. Also to promote participation in markets for credit; to promote and facilitate fair, efficient and transparent markets for credit; to protect the interests of consumers under credit contracts, consumer leases, and buy-back transactions of land; and to provide remedies for debtors, lessees and occupiers.

District Court Act 2016
The purposes of this Act are—

(a) to reconstitute District Courts as a single court with divisions for a Family Court, a Youth Court, and a Disputes Tribunal; and
(b) to provide for—

(i) the constitution and jurisdiction of the court; and
(ii) the practice and procedure of the court; and
(iii) the selection, appointment, removal, and conditions of the judicial and other officers of the court; and

(c) to make provision for any other related matters; and
(d) to improve the transparency of court arrangements in a manner consistent with judicial independence.

District Court Rules 2014
The objective of these rules is to secure the just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of any proceeding or interlocutory application.

Evidence Act 2006
An Act to help secure the just determination of proceedings by:

  • providing for facts to be established by the application of logical rules
  • providing rules of evidence that recognise the importance of the rights affirmed by the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990
  • promoting fairness to parties and witnesses
  • protecting rights of confidentiality and other important public interests
  • avoiding unjustifiable expense and delay
  • enhancing access to the law of evidence.

Fair Trading Act 1986
The purpose of the Act is to contribute to a trade environment in which consumer interests are protected, businesses compete effectively and consumers and businesses participate confidently.

  • In relation to trade, this Act prohibits certain unfair conduct and practices, and promotes fair conduct and practices.
  • In relation to goods and service, the Act provides for the disclosure of consumer information relating to supply of the goods and services, and promotes safety in respect of goods and services.

Harassment Act 1997
An Act to provide criminal and civil remedies in respect of harassment.

Harmful Digital Communications Act 2015
An Act to deter, prevent and mitigate harm caused to individuals by digital communications; and to provide victims of harmful digital communications with a quick and efficient means of redress. Includes Communication Principles; enforcement; and offences.

Insolvency Act 2006
An Act to establish the law of bankruptcy, including the nature of bankruptcy; the bankruptcy process; bankrupt's property; end of bankruptcy; debt repayments; and insolvent deceased estates.

Land Transport Act 1998
An Act to promote safe road user behaviour and vehicle safety; provide for a system of rules governing road user behaviour, the licensing of drivers, technical aspects of land transport, and recognise reciprocal obligations of persons involved; and enable New Zealand to implement international agreements relating to road safety and land transport.

Property Law Act 2007
An Act to codify (partly) aspects of the law relating to real and personal property. Includes mortgages; leases; covenants and easements; and powers of the court.

Residential Tenancies Act 1986
An Act to reform and restate the law relating to residential tenancies; to define the rights and obligations of landlords and tenants of residential properties; to establish the Tenancy Tribunal to determine disputes between landlords and tenants; and to establish a fund in which bonds payable by tenants are to be held.

Unit Titles Act 2010
An Act to provide a legal framework for the ownership and management of land, and associated buildings and facilities, by communities of individual owners. Allows for the subdivision of land and buildings into unit title developments, and establishes a regime for the governance of unit title developments and a dispute resolution mechanism.