In the enforcement context, an application for a declaration may be helpful when:
- there is a need to seek clarification, or an interpretation, of a legal matter without going so far as to prosecute or apply for an enforcement through the courts
- wherever there is doubt about the compliance status of an activity.
In some cases the declaration may be enough in itself to encourage an errant party to comply, or may otherwise remove the need for further enforcement action.
Declarations can be sought on a wide range of matters, including in regard to Regulations under the RMA, including National Environmental Standards. However, they cannot be used as a ‘back door’ way of challenging the non-notification of a resource consent application.