This is a single section from Chapter 9. Read the full chapter here.

What is the intended scope of the legislation?

Legislation should set out the factors that determine whether or not New Zealand law applies.


Where cross-border issues do arise, legislation must provide clear guidance on whether New Zealand’s rules or another country’s rules will apply, and which country or body will have the jurisdiction to make decisions.

The following factors may suggest that New Zealand law should apply in a particular context:


  • certain conduct or events occurred in New Zealand;
  •  certain property is situated in New Zealand;
  • a particular transaction is governed by New Zealand law or has a New Zealand element;
  • a person is a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident of New Zealand;
  • a person is resident or otherwise present in New Zealand at the time of certain events or at the time that civil or criminal proceedings are commenced against them, or any relevant proceedings are commenced against them;
  • certain consequences occur in New Zealand, and the person had knowledge as to whether or not those consequences would occur in New Zealand.


International law (including international agreements such as the Hague Convention) affects the extent to which New Zealand law can apply in other jurisdictions. This is a complex and sometimes controversial area and advice should be sought from MFAT, legal advisers and, where relevant, the department with responsibility for implementing a particular treaty.

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