How to File for a Restraining Order in NZ

How to File for a Restraining Order in NZ

How to File for a Restraining Order in NZ

Safety is non-negotiable, and when someone crosses the line, it’s time to take action. If you’re currently dealing with a situation in New Zealand where someone just won’t take “no” for an answer, filing for a restraining order is there to protect you.

Yes, this sounds like a serious business (and it is!), but fear not! We’ll be your maestros, guiding you through the process with expertise and clarity. Read on as we provide you with a step-by-step roadmap to protecting your boundaries effectively.

How to file for a restraining order in New Zealand

DifficultyModerate ●●●○○
Number of steps6
Time to perform stepsAnywhere from a few days to a few weeks (excluding the finalization)
Things you need• Access to the appropriate application forms
• Assistance, if needed, such as consulting with a lawyer or seeking help from local court staff.
• Copies of all completed forms and documents for your records

If you live in New Zealand and want to file a restraining order against someone, you need to submit an application to the District Court.

If you find yourself in a situation where you need protection from another person, filing for a restraining order can provide the legal framework to ensure your safety. 

STEP 1. Gather the necessary information.

STEP 1. Gather the necessary information.

Now that you understand the purpose and importance of a restraining order, it’s time to gather the necessary information to strengthen your case. This step is all about getting the facts straight and ensuring that you have the essential details at hand when filling out the application.

So, how do you go about gathering the necessary information? Let’s break it down into simple, actionable steps:

  1. Identify the Parties Involved: Start by gathering details about yourself and the person you are seeking protection from. Make a list of their full names, addresses, and dates of birth. It’s crucial to provide accurate and up-to-date information to ensure the court can properly identify the individuals involved.
  1. Document Incidents: Recall and document any incidents or behaviors that have occurred, leading you to seek a restraining order. Write down specific dates, times, and descriptions of what happened. Be as detailed as possible, providing a clear account of the events and the impact they have had on your well-being.
  1. Gather Supporting Evidence: If you have any supporting evidence, such as text messages, emails, or photos, gather and organize them. These can serve as valuable proof to support your claims. Make sure to make copies or take screenshots, ensuring you have both the original and a backup of the evidence.
  1. Consult Relevant Records: If there were previous incidents or interactions, it can be helpful to gather any relevant records or documents associated with them. This may include police reports, medical records, or any other official documentation that supports your need for a restraining order.

Remember, the goal is to compile a comprehensive and accurate account of the situation. By gathering all the necessary information, you’re providing the court with a clear understanding of why you require a restraining order.

STEP 2. Seek assistance if needed.

STEP 2. Seek assistance if needed.

Filling out application forms for a restraining order can sometimes feel overwhelming. Seeking assistance in this step can make the process smoother and ensure that you have the support you need. 

Additionally, if you have any questions or concerns about the application, seeking assistance provides an opportunity to get clarification. 

Let’s explore your options:

  • Local Court Support: Visit your local court, where dedicated staff members are available to assist you. They have experience with restraining order applications and can guide you through the process step by step. Don’t hesitate to ask questions or seek clarification if something is unclear. The court staff is there to help you.
  • Legal Advice: Consulting with a lawyer who specializes in family law or domestic violence matters can provide valuable guidance. They have in-depth knowledge of the legal requirements and can offer personalized advice based on your specific situation. Lawyers can ensure that your application is accurate, complete, and well-presented.
  • Legal Aid: If you’re concerned about the costs of legal assistance, explore the option of legal aid. Depending on your financial circumstances, you may be eligible for financial support to cover legal fees. Legal aid can help you access the necessary legal expertise without placing a heavy burden on your finances.
  • Free Community Legal Help: Many communities offer free legal services or organizations specializing in supporting victims of domestic violence. These resources can provide guidance and assistance with filling out the application forms, ensuring that you have the necessary support throughout the process.

STEP 3. Fill in the application form.

STEP 3. Fill in the application form.

It’s time to roll up your sleeves and dive into the heart of the matter – filling out the application form. This step allows you to present your case with clarity and provide all the necessary information for the court’s review. 

So, let’s break it down together and tackle this step head-on.

1: Obtain the Correct Form

To kick-start the process, you’ll need to get your hands on the appropriate application form. There are two possibilities, depending on your situation:

a) If you are applying for a new restraining order, you’ll need to fill out the Application for Restraining Order – form 92. If you can’t seem to download it for some reason, obtain a physical copy from the District Court.

b) If you already have a restraining order and you want to make changes, extend its duration, or end it, you’ll need the Application for variation or discharge of Restraining Order – form 93. Make sure to download or obtain the correct form based on your specific needs.

2: Provide Personal Information

The application form will require you to fill in essential details about yourself and the person you are seeking protection from. Fill in the necessary information accurately. This includes names, contact information, and any relevant details.

3: Determine the Duration

Specify the proposed duration of the restraining order you are seeking. This will indicate the length of time for which you wish the order to remain in effect. Choose the appropriate period based on your circumstances and the level of protection you require.

4: Special Conditions (If Applicable)

If you believe that certain special conditions should be included in the restraining order, this is your opportunity to request them. 

Use the designated space to describe the specific conditions you are seeking in detail. This could include requirements for the respondent to stay away from certain locations, refrain from contacting you or others, or surrender any firearms or weapons. 

5: Supporting Affidavit

The application form will require you to reference an affidavit filed in support of your application. If you have already prepared an affidavit that supports your case, mention the date of the affidavit and specify the deponent’s name if it is someone other than yourself.

Finally, don’t forget to include the date and sign the application form as the applicant. Your signature serves as confirmation that the information provided is true and accurate.

This step is your chance to present your case clearly and assert your need for a restraining order, so fill it out accurately.

STEP 4. Complete additional forms.

STEP 4. Complete additional forms.

Now, let’s tackle the final stretch. Alongside the main application form, there are a few additional forms that play a vital role in supporting your restraining order application.

These additional forms play a crucial role in supporting your restraining order application, so let’s dive in and understand why they are necessary:

  1. Affidavit [DOCX, 56 KB]: Think of this form as your opportunity to tell your story. It allows you to provide a written statement or sworn declaration describing the incidents or behaviors that have compelled you to seek a restraining order. This is your chance to provide specific details, provide a timeline of events, and express how these actions have affected your safety and well-being. 
  1. Harassment Act Notice of Proceeding form, aka form 94 [DOCX, 54 KB]: This form is all about transparency and keeping you informed about the legal proceedings you are initiating. It outlines important information about court hearings, appearances, and any subsequent steps in the process. It helps ensure that you are aware of the timeline, what to expect, and how to participate fully in the legal proceedings. 
  1. Notice of residential address and request for confidentiality form, aka form 95 [DOCX, 37 KB]: Your safety and privacy matter, and this form acknowledges that. If you have concerns about your address being known for safety reasons, you can fill out this form to request confidentiality. It allows you to keep your residential address private, ensuring that it remains undisclosed and protected from public access. 

STEP 5. File your application.

STEP 5. File your application.

First things first, double-check that all the forms are filled out completely and accurately. Don’t forget to sign and date them! 

Now, let’s talk about how you can file your application. You have a few options, so pick the one that works best for you.

  • Mailing it in: You can send your application by mail to the District Court. Make sure you have all the necessary postage and envelopes to keep your documents safe and sound.
  • File and Pay service: Some courts provide an online service where you can submit your application electronically. Check if your local court offers this option and follow their instructions to file your application online. It’s quick and convenient!
  • Hand-delivery: If you prefer a more personal touch, you can take your completed forms and physically deliver them to your local court. It might be a good idea to call ahead and find out the court’s office hours and any specific instructions for hand-delivering documents.

Remember, whatever option you choose, it’s crucial to keep copies of all the documents for your records. You never know when you might need them in the future, so better safe than sorry!

And there you have it! That’s all you need to know about filing a restraining order in New Zealand. Follow the process, gather the required documents, fill out the forms accurately, and file them with the District Court.

What happens next after filing for a restraining order in New Zealand?

What happens next after filing for a restraining order in New Zealand?

After filing for a restraining order in New Zealand, the court will serve the other person with a copy of your application, giving them an opportunity to respond to your request.

If the other person doesn’t respond, the court may grant the restraining order without a hearing. If the other person does respond, the court will schedule a hearing. 

However, it’s important to note that if the person against whom you are seeking the restraining order wishes to contest it, they will also be present at the hearing to present their case.

During the hearing, a judge will carefully consider the circumstances and evidence presented to decide whether or not to issue the restraining order.

Now, if the judge grants the restraining order, it will be in effect for a set period of time. The restraining order will prohibit the other person from contacting you or coming near you, as well as from possessing firearms or other weapons.

Find out more about the court hearing for a restraining order here.