Cannon v Cox [2018] NZFC 5556

Published 05 November 2019

Relationship property dispute — start and finish date of relationship — de facto — application for leave to apply out of time — Property (Relationships) Act 1976, ss 2, 24 & 44 — Beuker v Beuker (1977) 1 NPC20 (SC) — Ritchie v Ritchie (1991) 8 FRNZ 197 — May v May [1982] 1 NZFLR 165 — Saunders v Wilkinson [2013] NZFC 7970. This hearing was to determine when the parties' relationship began and when it ended. These dates were relevant as they would determine how far out of time the applicant was in making her application for division of relationship property. Under the PRA, applications must be be made no later than three years after the end of the de facto relationship. After examining the parties' evidence, the Judge determined the beginning and end dates of the relationship and found the applicant was 22 months past the three year application period. There are four main considerations when deciding whether to grant an application for leave to apply out of time: the length of time from the expiry of the statutory time limit and the bringing of the application, the explanation offered for the delay, the merits of the case, and the prejudice to the first respondent. 22 months was not an extreme length of time, the applicant had been distracted by other issues caused by the relationship breakdown, her case had at least some merit and the respondent was aware that an application would be made if the property could not be divided amicably. The application for leave to apply out of time was granted. Judgment Date: 27 July 2018.