Dispute resolution process
The purpose of the dispute resolution process is to provide a fair, efficient and consistent process for clients to seek resolution of complaints about the actions of the Official Assignee (OA) or the service they have received from the Insolvency and Trustee Service (ITS). The process enables us to investigate and, if possible, address your concerns.
A complaint might relate to:
- The level of service received; or
- The time taken to deal with an issue; or
- A process failure – where we have not followed legislative requirements; or
- A decision of the OA.
We want to resolve things fairly and quickly when there is disagreement. If we have made a decision you don’t understand or you don’t agree with, talk to our staff first. We will put things right if there has been a mistake.
If talking to the relevant ITS staff member does not resolve your concerns, there are three options that may be available to you to pursue your complaint:
- Seek formal review of a decision to reject an application for entry to the No Asset Procedure (NAP); and/or
- Pursue an appeal to the High Court against a decision of the Official Assignee; and/or
- Lodge a formal Complaint about the actions of the Official Assignee or Insolvency and Trustee Service.
When is a review of a NAP decision available?
This applies when a person who has made an application for entry to the NAP (“the debtor”) has had their application rejected. The reasons for the rejection will be set out in the letter of rejection sent to them by the OA.
The debtor has the option of applying to the High Court under the Appeal process discussed below, or they can ask for an internal review of the OA’s decision within 15 working days of the decision being made.
To request an internal review, complete the application form [PDF, 284 KB] found on our website and send it to the OA by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or post to Private Bag 4714, Christchurch, or by fax to 0508 464 327.
Process undertaken for review of a rejection to a NAP application:
On receipt of your request for review of a decision to decline entry to the NAP you can expect that we will:
- Acknowledge receipt of your request for a Review within 3 working days of receipt.
- Undertake an internal review by an independent team within the ITS which does not have other involvement with NAP applications, and investigations will be made into the basis of the complaint. This part of the process is usually completed within 10 working days.
- Complete a report to be considered by an OA from an office other than the office which initially considered the NAP application.
- Either endorse the original decision or uphold the review.
- Respond with the necessary explanation of the decision within 14 working days from receiving the request.
If the review is successful, you will be asked to make a new application containing all the relevant information.
What is an appeal?
This is where a person (including an insolvent person or a creditor) who has been affected by an act or decision of the OA may apply to the High Court to have that act or decision reversed or modified. The right of appeal is found in s226 of the Insolvency Act 2006.
Any appeal under s226 of the Insolvency Act 2006 to appeal the OA’s act or decision, must be made within 15 working days of the act or decision or within any additional time the Court may allow.
Where the OA is acting as Liquidator of a company, there is also provision in s284 of the Companies Act 1993 for affected persons to apply to the Court for directions or orders in relation to the conduct of the liquidation including the confirmation, reversal or modification of an act or decision of the OA as Liquidator.
Note: The Appeal process applies to the OA’s administrations of:
- No Asset Procedures
How to take an appeal against the OA’s decision
You will need to obtain your own legal advice on how to file the necessary documents with the High Court and be aware of the 15 working day time limit that applies from the date of the decision to which the appeal relates.
What is a complaint?
There are two types of complaint for the OA:
- If your complaint is about the actions or behaviour of an insolvent person, you need to complete the Lodge a complaint form [PDF, 947 KB] and send to the OA with the required information.
- If you consider the ITS has not addressed your concerns and you wish to make a formal complaint about the service provided to you and you require a formal response, then ITS respects your right to complain about this.
As noted above if you have concerns about the actions of the OA or the ITS the first step is to speak to the ITS staff member who made the decision and discuss your concerns. If you do not already have contact details for that person you can contact the ITS on Freephone 0508 INSOLVENCY (0508 467 658). Further contact details for the ITS are available on our Contact us page
Alternatively, if you are not comfortable speaking to the staff member who made the decision you have concerns about or if you are not satisfied with their response, you can request to discuss the matter with a more senior staff member.
If discussing the matter does not resolve your issue, you will need to put your complaint in writing and include the following information:
- Your name
- Your address and preferred contact details
- Sufficient details about the complaint to enable us to properly investigate your concerns
- Any steps taken to try and resolve the issue
- Copies of any relevant documents
- What action, if any, you are seeking.
We ask for your contact details to enable a direct response back to you. If you wish to make an anonymous complaint it will be treated with the same level of importance, although we will obviously not be able to contact you to advise the outcome.
Your written complaint should be sent to one of the following:
- National Manager, Insolvency and Trustee Service, Private Bag 4714, Christchurch; or
- General Manager and Official Assignee for NZ, Business Integrity Services, P O Box 1473, Wellington; or
- Email: email@example.com
If the complaint relates to access to personal or official information under the Privacy Act 1993 or Official Information Act 1982 then you may also wish to direct your complaint to:
- The Privacy Commissioner , PO Box 10-094, The Terrace, Wellington 6143, Fax 04-474 7595, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- The Ombudsman, PO Box 10152, Wellington 6143, Fax 04-471 2254, Email: email@example.com, Online: www.ombudsman.parliament.nz/get-help(external link).
However, note that both the Commissioner and Ombudsman will usually expect you to have tried to resolve the issues with us first.
Process undertaken for a complaint
On receipt of your formal complaint against the actions of the OA or the ITS we will:
- Acknowledge receipt of your complaint within 3 working days.
- Assign your complaint to be managed by a Complaints Manager who will be a senior staff member. You may be contacted for more information about the nature of your complaint.
- Undertake an internal review and investigations will be made.
- Consider if your complaint warrants an independent review and if appropriate, it may be referred to:
- An independent professional e.g. solicitor, accountant
- An Official Assignee from another region
- A senior Ministry officer
- Internal/external auditors
- Official Assignee for NZ
Please note that the appropriate reviewer will depend on the nature of the complaint.
After the investigation is completed, the Complaint Manager will make a decision and you will be informed of that decision in writing. The response should include a summary and a statement of the reasons for the decision that has been made.
We will work to complete this process within 20 working days where it is reasonably possible. However, a longer period of time may be required to deal with complex complaints. Throughout this process you will be kept informed of the timeframes set for each stage as each case must be investigated on its own merits.
You can withdraw your application for a Review or Complaint in writing at any time.
If your concerns are not resolved
If after receiving a decision and you remain dissatisfied with the handling of your complaint, then you may wish to refer the matter to the Ombudsman who is able to investigate complaints about the administrative acts and decisions of central and local government agencies.
Complaints to the Ombudsman can be made:
- online at www.ombudsman.parliament.nz/make-a-complaint(external link)
- by email to firstname.lastname@example.org;
- by fax: (+64) 04 471 2254
- by post: The Ombudsman, PO Box 10152, Wellington 6143.
More information is available on the Ombudsman's website: www.ombudsman.parliament.nz(external link).
You may also wish to take legal advice on whether an appeal to the High Court is appropriate.
If you have any questions about the Disputes Resolution process or you want to know more about this, please call us on Freephone 0508 467 658 or email email@example.com.
How the complaint and review process works
The attached process maps outline how the dispute resolution process [PDF, 50 KB] is conducted.