Dispute a fine

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In some situations you can dispute (challenge or disagree with) a fine. If you paid the infringement on time but it still came to court, you can also use this process to dispute a fine.

Work out what kind of fine you have

The process to dispute a fine is different for court-imposed fines and infringement fines.

Help working out what kind of fine you have

Contact us if you are not sure what type of fine you have

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How to dispute a court-imposed fine

You have 28 days from the day your fine was given in court to appeal it in writing. You can request forms for this from your local district court.

Find a district court near you

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How to return an infringement fine to the issuing authority

Once your infringement has reached us it is usually too late to dispute it. If there has been a mistake in how it was filed with us, there are some reasons (grounds) you can use to challenge the filing and have the fine sent back to the issuing authority. The reasons are:

  1. your identity was mistaken
  2. you did not get the reminder notice
  3. you did not get a notice of hearing
  4. you asked for a hearing but did not get a response
  5. you did what the issuing authority asked and let them know that you had done it
  6. you had more time to ask for a hearing
  7. you asked for information that you were not given
  8. you paid on time
  9. another error in the process of the fine being sent to court.

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Complete the application to dispute that a fine has been filed in court

This is also called a section 78B application. Read the form carefully so that you understand the reasons for challenging the fine being sent to the court. You must show that your situation fits one of these reasons to have your application approved.

You may download an application form, ask for one from our staff by calling 0800 4 FINES, or get one from your local district court.

Application to dispute that a fine has been filed in court [PDF, 1.1 MB]

Make sure you fill in the form thoroughly. We cannot process the application without:

  • your first and last name
  • your date of birth
  • your mailing address
  • the fine(s) that you want to challenge (the name and date is enough, but if you give the CRN number it will speed up the process)
  • the reason (grounds) for your dispute
  • your email address if you want the result of your application emailed to you.

You must give evidence with your application for it to be approved. Anything that might help show you meet the grounds you are applying under may help your case, for example:

  • utility bills (for example, power, water, rates)
  • a copy of your passport, including the front page
  • copies of letters or emails sent to the police or councils
  • other travel documents
  • NZ Post mail redirection notification payment receipts.

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Send us your application form

You can email it to disputefine@justice.govt.nz, hand it in at your local district court, or send it to us at:

Ministry of Justice
Dispute Fine
SX10099
Wellington

Write the address as written above and send it the same way as any other mail. You can use an NZ Post mail box. If you use a DX mail box your mail will get to us faster (external link)

Find a district court near you

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A registrar will review your application

Your application will be reviewed by a registrar who will make a decision. If your application is made on a week day the decision will be made within 48 hours, but there could be a delay of up to 28 days if your application needs to be reviewed by the issuing authority.

Once a decision has been made, you will be sent a letter telling you the outcome. If you made your application by email then you will receive an email with this information.

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If your application is approved

  • Re-issue reminder notice: The issuing authority will give you a new reminder notice. You can talk about it with them or pay the infringement amount. You should contact the issuing authority within 28 days of when we tell you that your application was approved, even if you don’t get the reminder.
  • Set up a hearing: Sometimes a hearing will be set up so the issue can be judged further, usually only if you originally asked for a hearing.
  • Withdrawal: The issuing authority may ask for the fine to be taken out of the courts and cancel it. Issuing authorities can choose to do this, but they are not legally required to.

If your application is declined

If your application has been declined you can:

  • pay the fine
  • make a new application, with new evidence or using a new reason
  • apply for a review of the decision. You cannot provide new evidence with this application.

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