Reciprocal Enforcement of Judgments Act 1934

Under the Reciprocal Enforcement of Judgments Act 1934, parties may register judgments in New Zealand. Once registered, the judgment can then be enforced through the New Zealand courts. 

To qualify for registration, the judgment must come from a country and court listed in the Act. As a general rule, except for Australia, the Act only applies to judgments obtained in superior courts. 

For the purpose of enforcement, a registered foreign judgment has the same force and effect as if the judgment had been given in the New Zealand High Court on the date of registration.

If a judgment is registrable, the Act is the exclusive method of enforcing the foreign judgment and the procedure under the Act must be followed.

A party wishing to register a judgment must apply to the New Zealand High Court. Evidence of the following matters must be filed:

  • a copy (and translation if not in English) of the foreign judgment 
  • relevant exchange rates and interest 
  • confirmation of the right to registration including: 
    • the entitlement of the applicant to enforce the judgment
    • the extent, if any, to which the judgment has been satisfied
    • the balance remaining payable 
  • confirmation of the enforceability of the judgment in the country of the original court 
  • confirmation that registration is not liable to be set aside under s.6 of the Act
  • details of the judgment creditor and the judgment debtor.

The other party may apply under s.6 of the Act, to set aside registration upon any of the following grounds: 

  • The judgment is not properly registrable in New Zealand
  • Lack of jurisdiction of the original court
  • Failure to give sufficient notice of the proceeding in the original court to enable the judgment debtor to defend the claim
  • Judgment was obtained by fraud 
  • The registration is contrary to public policy in New Zealand
  • Rights under the judgment are not vested in the applicant.