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Improvements proposed for enforcing court judgements across the Tasman.



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ATTORNEY-GENERAL THE HON PHILIP RUDDOCK MP

NEWS RELEASE

1 August 2005 138/2005

IMPROVEMENTS PROPOSED FOR ENFORCING COURT JUDGMENTS ACROSS THE TASMAN

Proposed changes to make it easier to enforce court judgments between Australia and New Zealand will be the focus of a discussion paper released today, Australian Attorney-General Philip Ruddock has announced.

The release of a discussion paper by the Trans-Tasman Working Group on Court Proceedings and Regulatory Enforcement is the result of a collaborative effort between officials of both countries on court proceedings and regulatory enforcement.

“The proposals would mean greater co-operation between Australia and New Zealand in civil court proceedings,” Mr Ruddock said.

“This will benefit organisations conducting business across the Tasman and individuals caught up in trans-Tasman legal disputes.

“Australia and New Zealand have a great deal of trust and confidence in each other’s legal systems, which share a common heritage. This trust and confidence is reflected in existing legal co-operation regimes and these proposals will build on their success,” Mr Ruddock said.

The discussion paper proposes greater cooperation in order to resolve trans-Tasman disputes more efficiently and at a lower cost, ultimately reducing barriers to trans-Tasman trade.

The proposals will contribute to the success of closer economic relations between Australia and New Zealand and the move towards a single economic market.

They also will assist in the resolution of personal disputes where one party has moved across the Tasman - for example, in matrimonial property disputes.

Other proposed changes would make it possible to enforce civil penalties and certain criminal fines for regulatory offences across the Tasman. For example, an organisation based in New Zealand but operating in Australia could not escape penalties or fines imposed by Australian courts, and vice versa.

The changes also would increase the effectiveness of each country’s regulatory rules in areas where this is of mutual benefit - for example, the rules applying to securities offerings to the public.

The Working Group has called for submissions on its proposals by 4 November 2005. It will make recommendations to the Australian and New Zealand Governments. Copies of the discussion paper are available at www.ag.gov.au

Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600 • Telephone (02) 6277 7300 • Fax (02) 6273 4102 www.law.gov.au/ag

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