The Tribunal of the Catholic Church for Aotearoa New Zealand

Tribunal Logo

The Tribunal of the Catholic Church is the official ecclesiastical court of the Church. In 1987, the New Zealand Bishops Conference agreed to have the Tribunal of the Catholic Church established nationally for all cases including penal trials, declarations of nullity and cases of vindication of rights provided in Canon Law.

The Tribunal is regulated by the Catholic Church’s Code of Canon Law 1983 and other various church documents - more commonly referred to as Church Law. Its decisions only have effect in the Catholic Church and have no civil law effects. It is supervised by the Judicial Vicar and staffed by other qualified personnel, in particular canon lawyers.

A major function of the Tribunal is to process declaration of nullity cases, meaning inquiring as to whether the marriage is binding for life or not according to the laws of the Catholic Church. Whenever Catholics or non-Catholics have been previously married, this process must be done to establish whether they may enter into a new marriage in the Catholic Church or not. Thus, it assists in the pastoral care of the Christian faithful by finding if a declaration of nullity might be possible. 

The Tribunal also hears Penal trials which are conducted in accordance with Church Law for example, especially when crimes have been committed by clergy, religious and lay members. The Tribunal strives to “care for the dignity of marriage and to work for the good of persons”, it seeks to administer justice and contribute to the Church’s ministry in “the salvation of souls, which must always be the supreme law of the Church”.

To download Application for Declaration of Nullity Forms, visit our website

Judicial Vicar: Monsignor Brendan Daly (JCD)
Judge / Tribunal Director:
Ms. Elizabeth Ong (JCL/LLB)
Case Instructor / Administrator (Main Contact):
Mrs. Maria Sequeira
Telephone: + 64 3 366 9869