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Family Court rule changes from 1 September

14 August 2017

Changes to the rules relating to service of documents in the Family Court and in Family Court proceedings were made by Order in Council on 7 August 2017 and will come into effect on 1 September 2017.

The Family Proceedings Amendment Rules 2017, amend the Family Proceedings Rules 1981 to make a number of changes to document service requirements.

Under the new rules, which replace Part 6: Service, lawyers will be able to accept service of documents by any electronic means. Personal service will be enabled by an individual who is authorised by the Secretary for Justice, an officer or employee of a corporation authorised by the Secretary, or a Police employee authorised by the Commissioner of Police.

Added as an example of an order for substituted service of a document is an order permitting the document to be brought to the notice of the person to be served using social media.

The new rules also provide that service of an order on a party who does not have a lawyer acting for him or her may be effected by transmitting the order to the party's last known electronic address.

The Family Court Amendment Rules 2017 [not accessible on the Legislation New Zealand website at present] amend the Family Court Rules 2002 and make similar changes as well as others, effective from 1 September 2017. These are:

Lawyers will be able to accept service of documents by any electronic means.

Personal service will be able to be undertaken by an individual authorised by the Secretary for Justice, an officer or employee of a corporation authorised by the Secretary, or a Police employee authorised by the Commissioner of Police.

Judges will be able to authenticate electronic documents.

Following the change by the Children, Young Persons, and Their Families (Advocacy, Workforce, and Age Settings) Amendment Act 2016, a social worker is no longer able to be a party to proceedings under the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989 in his or her capacity as a social worker.

Addition as an example of an order for substituted service of a document of an order permitting the document to be brought to the notice of the person to be served using social media.

Service of an order on a party without a lawyer acting for him or her may be effected by transmitting the order to the party's last known electronic address.

A proceeding on the without notice track will be able to be classified as a complex case so that it may be individually managed and a case management conference may be convened.

Clarification that following the making of an interim order on the without notice track, a Judge may transfer a case to the standard track.

Express provision that on the without notice track a Judge may direct the parties to attend family dispute resolution.

The Children, Young Persons, and Their Families Amendment Rules 2017 amend the Children, Young Persons, and Their Families Rules 1989 and come into force on 1 September 2017.

The amendments repeat the changes relating to service of documents made by the other amendment rules.

The Domestic Violence Amendment Rules 2017 amend the Domestic Violence Rules 1996 and come into force on 1 September 2017.

The amendments repeat the changes relating to service of documents made by the other amendment rules.

Last updated on the 16th September 2019