Recently I won a family court case in NZ. How do I apply for the cost claims? I have spoken to my lawyer, but

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Customer: Hi. My name is***** won a family court case in NZ
JA: Have you talked to a New Zealand lawyer about this?
Customer: How do I apply for the cost claims?
JA: The Lawyer will be able to walk you through that. What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: I have spoken to my lawyer, but surprisingly no action nor updates.
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: I want to know what is the procedure in Family Court after won a case. Can we claim the costs
Answered by Chris The Lawyer in 6 hours 1 year ago
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Chris The Lawyer
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Chris The Lawyer
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Chris The Lawyer
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Chris The Lawyer, Expert

Hi
I am a New Zealand lawyer based in Wellington and will help you with your question today. Please give me a minute to read the question

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Chris The Lawyer, Expert

Did you have a lawyer? What sort of case was this? In some cases you can get costs, so more details would help

Customer
Hi Chris. Yes I had a lawyer, but after won the case in Family Court, I left to my country, Malaysia, with my children who were kidnapped by their NZ citizen mother and her new husband. It cost me a lot going through the family Court procedures in New Plymouth.
Customer
My children were kidnapped, their name were changed in school database (I believe the school is involved in the fraud), they were used to apply for IRD to claim family tax credit, they were used to apply for NZ residency for their mother's new husband (he gets NZ residency within one year living in NZ), they were abused. But sadly these matters were not highlighted in the Family Court.
Customer
Their mother forged my signature and used false witness when without my consent, applied for the children NZ citizenship. Both my children are Malaysian citizens and Malaysia does not allow dual citizenship. I have emailed the NZ Internal Affairs when searching for my children but sadly to action was taken.
Customer
I want to claim damages of searching and going through the family court costs and also would want justice for my children which I thought the family court would have done. i.e. report to the higher authority regarding fradulence, abuse case etc. I am seeking justice for my children.
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Chris The Lawyer, Expert

What was the result of the court case?

Customer
In the family court, I won the case and my children are returned to me. I also have full custody from malaysia family court before opening the family court case in NZ. (the interpol advised me to go through family court in NZ although I have full custody from Malaysia)
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Chris The Lawyer, Expert

Did the Family Court say you could seek costs of your case? Usually when you win a case you can claim costs on the District Court scale

Customer
I am not sure about this. My former lawyer did not advise me on this matter. Something is unclear after the hearing. After the hearing and won the case, their mother was supposed to meet me via child psychologist and to sign acknowledgement on the Malaysia custody order. but she refused and none of the lawyers (including lawyer for the children enforced it).
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Chris The Lawyer, Expert

How long ago was the order returning the children?

Customer
In December 2019
Customer
My children and I returned to Malaysia on 19 December 2019.
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Chris The Lawyer, Expert

And apart from the mother refusing to sign, has anything else happened on the case?

Customer
The children lawyer is enforcing NZ custody on me despite knowing that I have a custody order form malaysia. The mother appealed after the hearing, but later she withdraw. My former lawyer too a leave after the hearing. On jan 13, 2020, my former lawyer told me that their mother could reappeal until February 2020. I was not told about this earlier. My former lawyer insist to get details of my children schol and residential address in malaysia. But when I told her that the children are now in malaysia and the custody order in malaysia does not allow the children to leave the country until they are 18, my former lawyer are unhappy and keeping silent in pursuing the costs claim. I don't understand why no action is taken after all the evidence in the Family Court. I felt that something is not done right.
Customer
My child malaysia passport is held in the New Plymouth family court. I asked my former lawyer about this, but the lawyer told me to get the Malaysian passport by myself.
Customer
When i ask about the damage claims etc..my former lawyer said busy working on it, but no further news on this matter. i am not sure what is happening after the hearing. The children mother and her new husband are still free in NZ despite the fraud and abuse case.
Customer
I want to claim damages and seek justice for my children.
Customer
The Internal Affairs pursued the citizenship application with NZ passport despite reported about the fraud. No further investigation was done.
Customer
The children mother and her new husband (kazakhstan citizen) kidnapped the children from their school in malaysia, and fraud the exit visa (without exit letter/pass from the NZ High Comm. in Kuala Lumpur). basically abused the children NZ passports She admitted to have forged my signature in the Family Court but no further action was taken.
Customer
Can I claim damages and open a case for the fraud, abuse etc
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Chris The Lawyer, Expert

The general principle is that if you win a case you can claim costs. Under New Zealand law however it would be difficult to sue the mother and her husband for damages. There has to be what is called a cause of action, which means there must have been an event under which you can claim damages under New Zealand law. Contesting a custody case which was not strong would normally be met by a claim for costs by the successful party, but you cannot claim damages. The other issues however in relation to the forgery of documents should be a matter for the police rather than a civil action. It certainly sounds as if they behaved badly, and that would normally go to an award of costs. You could probably still make a claim for costs

Customer
How can I go about to claim for costs. Can i proceed without a lawyer? Do I need to claim in the District Court in the New Plymouth area?
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Chris The Lawyer, Expert

You can make a claim without a lawyer although you can also claim the lawyer's costs in preparing an application for costs. You would apply to the family court where you had the hearing, which I assume was New Plymouth

Customer
You mean i can make the cost claim application via the family court in new Plymouth?
Can I do it online?
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Chris The Lawyer, Expert

The first step would be to approach the lawyer for the other party and tell them you want to claim costs. I would assume they will respond by refusing to acknowledge the application or just ignoring you. I think you would be better instructing a lawyer to make the claim for costs however because it is a fairly technical area of law and need someone familiar with the rules about costs

Customer
Do I need to pursue via my former lawyer or to get a new lawyer?
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Chris The Lawyer, Expert

There would be advantages in using your former lawyer because that lawyer will have the best knowledge of the case and make the best case for costs. But you could get a new lawyer if you no longer want to use the former lawyer

Customer
Can i get my child malaysian passport from the New Plymouth court without a lawyer?
Customer
I also want to open a case against the Internal Affairs, their mother and her husband for justice to my children. There must be a platform of law for this matter.
Customer
The false witness is a malaysian who supported to forge the NZ citizenship application.
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Chris The Lawyer, Expert

You should contact the New Plymouth court and ask for the passport. If the case is over and there is no appeal pending, there is no reason for the court to hold the passport. Your remedy against the children's mother is to claim costs. A possible cause of action against Internal Affairs might be to claim breach of statutory duty. Any issues about forgery should be matters for the police

Customer
Thank you for your advise. It is indeed very informative.
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Chris The Lawyer, Expert

Please remember to rate my service once you have all the information you need. If you have any other questions, please ask me – I’ll be happy to respond. Thank you!

Customer
What should I do if the fraud and abuse issues been reported to the police but no further action taken by the police?
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Chris The Lawyer, Expert

Your only real remedy would be to complain to the independent police conduct authority that the issues have not been properly investigated. Sometimes these investigations to take time however

Customer
for "action against Internal Affairs might be to claim breach of statutory duty', - to pursue on this matter, do I need to get a lawyer from Wellington?
Customer
also can I get all the documents i.e. affidavits, child psychologist reports, lawyer for children reports and the details of the hearing from new plymouth amily court without a lawyer? I mean get the details by direct request.
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Chris The Lawyer, Expert

Your lawyer should provide all of the documents on your file on request. There will be some documents on the court file which are not available for the parties, such as child psychologist reports. But you should get everything you need from your lawyer, who was obliged to provide a copy of the file on request

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Chris The Lawyer, Expert

You can brief a lawyer from anywhere to sue the Department, but I would suggest you need an experienced senior lawyer for that

Customer
Sure. Thank you Chris. I will look for a senior lawyer to sue the Department.
Customer
Have a nice day.
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