Completing, filing and serving documents

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Completing forms

Find and complete a form you require on our forms and fees page. The forms are available as Word documents to be downloaded, edited and printed.

Many of the documents you will need to file are prescribed forms set by the Employment Court Regulations 2000. These forms must follow certain standards in terms of presentation and content. The registry can decline to accept for filing documents that don't comply with these standards.

A lawyer or an employment advocate can also help you draft the forms you need.

Find out more about Employment Court forms and fees.

Find out more about professional help.

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Completing affidavits

Complete an affidavit when you need to present evidence in written form. Your affidavit is a document that contains information which you can swear or affirm is true.

Find a basic template for affidavits on our forms and fees page.

Content of an affidavit

An affidavit should contain all the written evidence that you want to present. It should be written in the first person (for example, ‘I saw…’, ‘he said to me…’), and must state your full name, occupation and place of residence.

You can only cover matters that would be admissible if you were giving evidence at trial and, if it is an affidavit in reply, it must be strictly in reply. If the affidavit includes unnecessary material, the Judge may refuse to read it and may order you to pay the costs caused by the inclusion of that material.

If an affidavit refers to documents, then those documents must be attached and referred to as exhibits. For example ‘Bank statement of plaintiff, dated 01/01/01, marked as EXHIBIT A’. The exhibit itself must be marked with the letter or number assigned to it in the affidavit (for example, the bank statement should be marked with an ‘A’) and be identified by an exhibit note. Below is an example of an exhibit note:

Example of an Environment Court exhibit note

Before the document is sworn or affirmed you should check that you have included all the information you want to present as evidence, and that the information you have provided is true and correct to the best of your knowledge and belief. This means that you have taken reasonable care to ensure that all the information is true and that there are no mistakes in the document.

Mistakes in affidavits are not easily fixed and you will usually need to file another affidavit that corrects the initial affidavit. If, after swearing an affidavit, you realise that it contains a mistake you should contact the court registry. The court registry will tell you if you need to file a second affidavit or if you can amend the initial affidavit by hand (before the person who took the affidavit).

If the affidavit has more than one page, excluding the cover page, then you must initial every page except the page that has been signed. You must also initial every exhibit.

Swearing and affirming

A document is not an affidavit until you have given an oath or affirmation verifying its contents. The oath or affirmation must be given in front of a person lawfully authorised to take oaths.

Swearing an affidavit occurs when a witness makes a Christian oath on the Bible. If you do not want to swear on the Bible, you can affirm the document instead. If you do not wish to swear or affirm, you should advise the registry in advance of the hearing.

People authorised to take affidavits

The following people are authorised to take affidavits and affirmations in New Zealand that are presented in the Employment Court:

  • Registrar or Deputy Registrar of the District or High Court
  • Justice of the Peace
  • Barrister or solicitor of the High Court.

If an affidavit or affirmation is made outside New Zealand, then the affidavit or affirmation can be taken by:

  • a Commonwealth representative in that country
  • a Commissioner of the High Court of New Zealand who has authority in that country
  • a person authorised to take affidavits under the laws of that country
  • a person authorised by a judge to administer the oath.

Offences for misleading justice

The courts view misleading justice seriously. To do so knowingly can be considered a criminal offence punishable by imprisonment.

Find out more in the Oaths and Declarations Act 1957 (external link) .

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Amended pleadings

You can amend a statement of claim or defence, as of right, at any stage of the proceedings before your case is set down for hearing.

For further information about the form of an amended pleading please see the Employment Court Practice Directions [PDF, 492 KB] and our page on Practice directions, legislation and rules.

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Filing documents

Where do I file documents

File your challenge to a determination of the Employment Relations Authority with the registry nearest to the Employment Relations Authority office that determined the matter. See our contact and find us page for a map showing the registry coverage areas.

File any other statement of claim or originating document with the  registry nearest to where the event in dispute happened (unless the parties agree otherwise and note this on the statement of claim). 1

File a statement of defence or subsequent documents with the  registry stated on the statement of claim.

How do I file documents

You can file documents by post or over the counter of the appropriate registry.

Generally, you will need to file an original plus copies as stated on our forms and fees page.

You may file some documents by email after consulting with the registry.  When sending documents by email state in the subject line the file number and parties’ names; or ‘new filing’ for a new matter; and ‘urgent’ if the matter is urgent. You will still need to post or deliver in person the original document and the required number of copies to the registry.

Find out more about Employment Court forms and fees and how to find us on Contact and find us page.

How do I pay the filing fee

Pay the required fee either in cash (please do not send cash in the post) or by cheque made out to ‘Ministry of Justice’, or online by direct credit, or over a counter of any Westpac bank branch.

For the online payment and payment over the counter of the Westpac branch please see the fee payment instructions [PDF, 36 KB].

Can the fee be waived

The registrar currently has no power to waive (cancel) fees. You must pay the filing fee at the same time as filing the application with the court.

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Serving documents

Serve documents in the following ways:2

Serving originating documents (challenges, statements of claim)

  • Serve in person
    Take a copy of the form to the defendant and give it to the defendant. If the defendant does not accept it, put the form down directly in front of the person and tell the person that they have now been served.
  • Serve by registered post (track and trace courier post)
    Send a copy of the statement of claim to the defendant by registered post to the defendant’s last known residence or place of business.
  • Serve a company or organisation (including a union)
    Send a copy of the statement of claim by registered post to the registered office of that company or organisation; or to any postal box held in New Zealand by that company or organisation.
  • Serve a New Zealand corporation
    Leave a copy of the statement of claim with any officer of the corporation or any employee of the corporation’s head office.
  • Serve an unincorporated society
    Leave a copy of the statement of claim with the president, chairperson or secretary of the society.
  • Serve a partnership
    Leave a copy of the statement of claim with any partner or at the principal place of the business of the partnership.

Notes:

  • If you are serving a statement of claim against more than one defendant, you must serve each defendant with a copy of the statement of claim even if they have the same address for service
  • If you are serving a challenge to an Employment Relations Authority determination, you cannot serve the challenge on the other party’s representative unless that representative has confirmed to you (preferably in writing) that they are authorised to accept service of documents in the Court proceedings.

Serving subsequent documents

You can use any of the methods listed above, as well as email, facsimile or DX/PO Box number if the plaintiff has provided those addresses in their statement of claim.

(Note: This does not apply when serving a statement of claim.)

Serve as soon as possible

You must serve the other parties within a reasonable time, and advise the registry when and how you served them.

You might be asked by the judge or registry at some point to file an affidavit of service; the template is on our forms and fees page.

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Footnotes

  1. reg 23-24, Employment Court Regulations 2000 (external link)
  2. reg 27-31, Employment Court Regulations 2000 (external link)

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