This page provides information for lawyers about preparing written submissions, getting a publication classified, and appealing classification decisions.
If you require assistance with an application or need more information please feel free to contact our Information Unit.
In court proceedings, a publication may be referred by the court to the Classification Office under section 29(1) or section 41(3) of the Classification Act. Every person who is party to the proceedings in respect of the referral has the right to make a written submission to the Classification Office.
The Classification Office will send interested parties information on what can be included in a written submission, copies of the classification criteria, a return address, and the closing date for submissions.
A written submission should contain information on why the writer considers the publication should receive a particular classification. Submissions can, for example, discuss things such as artistic or scientific merit of the publication or the purpose for which the publication is intended to be used.
Any person can seek the leave of the Chief Censor to submit a publication for classification.
An application for leave should be made using the section 13(1)(c) form below, be accompanied by the appropriate fee, and (if possible) a copy of the publication.
There are different fees depending on the medium of the publication and whether the applicant has a commercial/professional interest in having the publication classified.
It is also possible to apply for fee waivers and urgency fees by attaching a letter to the application explaining why these are being sought.
Where a publication has been submitted under section 13, the following people have the right to make a written submission:
If you require additional information on submitting a publication for classification, contact the Information Unit.
A reconsideration is where the Classification Office re-examines a publication, and either alters or confirms the previous classification decision on the publication.
Applications for reconsideration of a classification decision are usually made for older decisions, ones where more than 3 years has passed since the classification was made.
Where less than 3 years have passed since the decision was made, the applicant will need to show that (in the case of a film), the film has been substantially altered since the decision; or the Chief Censor will need to be satisfied that there are special circumstances justifying a reconsideration of the decision.
The owner, maker, or authorised distributor of a publication can submit the publication for reconsideration direct to the Office. These applicants do not need to seek the leave of the Chief Censor to submit a publication for reconsideration. There are different fees depending on the medium of the publication.
The application should include:
People who are not the owner, maker, or authorised distributor must seek the leave of the Chief Censor before they can submit a publication for classification. There are different fees depending on the medium of the publication and whether the applicant has a commercial/professional interest in having the publication classified.
The application should include:
The Board of Review will only review publications that have been recently classified by the Office of Film and Literature Classification. The Board will review the publication against the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993; it will not review the decision made by the Classification Office. The Board will then issue a new decision which replaces the decision of the Classification Office.
The following people have an automatic right to apply for a publication's review by the Board:
If you have an automatic right to apply for a review, contact the Secretary of Internal Affairs. The application must be received within 30 working days of the date of registration of the decision in the NZ Register of Classification Decisions. The register page of each publication is available as a PDF from the NZ Register of Classification Decisions.
An application to the Board of Review should include:
You can contact the Board of Review via email at email@example.com.
A member of the public can apply for a review but must first seek the leave of the Secretary of Internal Affairs. Applications for leave must be lodged within 20 working days of the date of registration of the decision. The register page of each publication is available as a PDF from the NZ Register of Classification Decisions.
Once leave is granted the applicant has 5 working days from the date leave is granted, or 30 working days from when the decision was registered (whichever date is the later) to submit their request to the Film and Literature Board of Review.
To seek leave, contact the Secretary of Internal Affairs at the Department of Internal Affairs and include:
For more information contact the Board of Review at firstname.lastname@example.org
Application forms to seek the leave of the Secretary and copies of these guidelines are available from the Secretary of the Board of Review, upon request (ph: 04 495 7200).