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Australia – A New Framework For Trans-Tasman Legal Proceedings.

26 September, 2013

 

The Australian and New Zealand Governments concluded on 24 July 2008 the Agreement on Trans-Tasman Court Proceedings and Regulatory Enforcement. On 25 July of this year, the Governor-General fixed 11 October 2013 as the commencement date of the Trans-Tasman Proceedings Act 2010 (together with relevant subsidiary legislation) which gives effect to Australia’s obligation under the Agreement. 


The aim of the Agreement is to streamline the procedures for resolving civil proceedings with a trans-Tasman element. It is anticipated that the new regime will reduce litigation costs and improve procedural efficiency by:


1. giving effect to contractual choice of court agreements which stipulate that the other country’s courts are the competent courts;
2. allowing civil initiating process issued in one country to be served in the other country without leave;
3. broadening the range of civil judgments that can be recognised and enforced between the two countries; and
4. enabling civil penalty orders and certain fines for regulatory offences to be registered and enforced between the two countries.


The practical effect of the Trans-Tasman Proceedings Act 2010 is that Australian parties can rely when dealing with New Zealand counterparties on the same judicial enforcement mechanisms of their rights and obligations that are available to them in purely domestic transactions – an assumption under which perhaps many businesses have already operated. Thus, the main surprise of the new regime may be that it has not been put in place sooner.

 

herbert smith Freehills

 

For further information, please contact:

 

Donald Robertson, Partner, Herbert Smith Freehills
[email protected]

 

Leon Chung, Partner, Herbert Smith Freehills
[email protected]

 

Anne Hoffman, Herbert Smith Freehills
[email protected]

 

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