A bill aimed at resolving transtasman legal disputes more effectively and at lower cost was passed into law today.

Justice Minister Simon Power said the transtasman Proceedings Bill implemented an agreement signed in July 2008 between the New Zealand and Australian governments on transtasman court proceedings and regulatory enforcement.

"Both governments have worked closely together to develop the legislation and make sure the new regime delivers the maximum benefit for individuals and businesses on both sides of the Tasman," he said.

Australia passed its version of the law in March.

The bill:

* Allows civil proceedings from one country to be served on a defendant in the other country as of right;

* expands the range of civil court judgments from one country that can be enforced in the other, and streamlines the process for enforcement of those judgments;

* introduces a common statutory test to determine whether a court in one country should decide a dispute or give way to a court in the other country;

* facilitates greater use of technology to enable parties and their lawyers to appear remotely in proceedings in the other country and;

* improves regulatory enforcement between countries by allowing civil pecuniary penalties and certain criminal regulatory fines imposed in one country to be enforced in the other.

- NZPA