Enforcing Foreign judgments in New Zealand - A guide through the three different methods of enforcing a foreign judgment in New Zealand.

If you have a judgment of a foreign court against a New Zealand resident or an owner of assets in New Zealand, it may be possible to enforce that judgment in New Zealand.

As well as enforcement, a foreign judgment may be used as a defence to a New Zealand court action or pleaded as being conclusive of an issue in an action.
There are four methods of enforcing foreign judgments in New Zealand:

  • Reciprocal enforcement under statute.
  • Enforcement of commonwealth judgments under statute.
  • Enforcement under the common law.
  • Enforcement of Australian judgments under statute.

The appropriate method depends on the country in which the foreign judgment was given.

Is your judgment from Australia?

The judgment may be enforceable under the Trans Tasman Proceedings Act 2010.

Is your judgment from one of the following countries?

  • Bechuanaland (Botswana)
  • Belgium 
  • Cameroon
  • Ceylon
  • Corsica
  • England
  • Fiji
  • France
  • Gilbert & Ellice Islands (Kiribati & Tuvalu)
  • Hong Kong
  • India
  • Malaya (Malaysia)
  • Nigeria
  • Norfolk Island
  • Northern Ireland
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Pakistan
  • Sarawak
  • Singapore
  • Solomon Islands
  • Sri Lanka
  • Swaziland
  • Tonga
  • Scotland
  • Wales
  • Western Samoa

The judgment may be enforceable under the Reciprocal Enforcement of Judgments Act 1934, as it is given by a country with which New Zealand has a reciprocal agreement.

Is your judgment from a Commonwealth country?

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Bahamas
  • Bangladesh
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Botswana
  • Canada
  • Cyprus
  • Dominica
  • Fiji
  • Gambia
  • Ghana (United Republic of)
  • Grenada
  • Guyana
  • India
  • Jamaica
  • Kenya
  • Kiribati
  • Lesotho
  • Malawi Zambia
  • Malaysia
  • Malta
  • Mauritius
  • Nauru
  • Nigeria
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Seychelles
  • Sierra Leone
  • Singapore
  • Solomon Islands
  • Sri Lanka
  • St Lucia
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Swaziland
  • Tanzania
  • Tonga
  • Trinidad & Tobago
  • Tuvalu
  • Uganda
  • United Kingdom
  • Vanuatu
  • Western Samoa
  • Zimbabwe

If so, the judgment is enforceable under the Judicature Act 1908 provided the judgment is for a sum of money.

If your judgment is from any other country not listed and which is not a Commonwealth country (eg the United States), the judgment is enforceable at common law in New Zealand.