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A notice of proceeding is one of the most important documents to be aware of when starting a civil proceeding in New Zealand. When you file a statement of claim to describe your legal problem and the facts of what happened, you also need to file a notice of proceeding to tell the other party that you are taking legal action against them. This article sets out: 

  • what a notice of proceeding is; 
  • what must be included in a notice of proceeding; and
  • whether to attach a memorandum with the notice (and what to include in that memorandum).

What Is a Notice of Proceeding?

A notice of proceeding tells the defendant that you are taking legal action against them. In judicial review proceedings, it tells the respondent (the body whose decision you are seeking review of) that you are taking legal action against it in the District Court or High Court.

Note the difference between a statement of claim and a notice of proceeding. These are separate documents that have different effects legally. A statement of claim sets out the details of your problem and legal claim. A notice of proceeding informs the other party that you are filing a claim against them, with a timeframe to respond. The other party (whether a natural person or business) then has an opportunity to file their own statement in the District Court or High Court. 

What Must Be Included in a Notice of Proceeeding?

By law, you must include the following content in a notice of proceeding:

“This document notifies you that you must file in this registry of the court a statement of defence to the plaintiff’s claim (a copy of which is served with this notice). You must do this within 25 working days after the date on which you have been served with this notice. If you do not, the plaintiff may at once proceed to judgment on the plaintiff’s claim, and judgment may be given in your absence.”

However, there is additional information that should also be attached. You should include this information in a memorandum sent with the notice of proceeding.

Do You Need to Attach a Memorandum?

Yes, you will need to attach a memorandum to your notice of proceeding. There are some rules that apply to what must be included in this memorandum. You need to cover:

  • advice around seeking representation. Particularly for companies that cannot represent themselves and so will need a solicitor to represent them in the proceeding;
  • information about legal aid, including that they may be entitled to it. Also, an acknowledgement if you are (or are not) applying for or receiving legal aid for the proceeding;
  • information about filing a statement of defence;
  • a notification that they must file any counterclaims in the same registry as the original claim. Also, that they must serve it to you and anybody else included in the claim; 
  • information about witnesses, i.e. that any summons for witnesses will be issued on application at the registry of the court; and
  • the registry hours of the court, which are 9am-5pm on all working days except court holidays. 

This is just a general overview of the information you ought to provide in a memorandum. You can find a template with more fuller information and content for you to provide here

Key Takeaways

A notice of proceeding is a document you will need to draft and file when starting a civil case. For example, when you are looking to settle a commercial dispute or recover money from a debtor. It informs the other party that you are taking legal action against them and gives some basic information, such as that they have 25 working days to respond to the notice and file a statement of defence in the District Court or High Court. If you want to know more about drafting a notice of proceeding, contact LegalVision’s disputes and litigation lawyers on 0800 005 570 or complete the form on this page.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a notice of proceeding?

It either tells the defendant that you are taking legal action against them or (in judicial review proceedings) that you are reviewing a decision made by a public body. It gives them 25 working days after the date you served them with this notice to file a statement of defence.

Is a notice of proceeding different from a statement of claim?

Yes. A statement of claim should set out the details of your problem and legal claim, whereas a notice of proceeding is for the purposes of letting the other party know that you are filing a claim against them. 

Do you need to attach a memorandum to your notice of proceeding?

Yes, you will need to attach a memorandum that sets out basic information, such as information about witnesses or the opportunity to make a counterclaim.

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