COVID-19 and NZ courts updates: 4 May

More details shared about court protocols under alert level 3

COVID-19 and NZ courts updates: 4 May

In the wake of New Zealand dropping the pandemic alert level to level 3, some courts have announced updates to court functions.

Courts  

The Ministry of Justice said in its courts landing page that while the country is under COVID-19 alert level 3, courts and tribunals will conduct as much of their usual business as they are safely able to. Some courts will be closed or operating at a reduced capacity. Courts will also limit public access for safety.

Supreme Court

Chief Justice Dame Helen Winkelmann has extended the suspension of new jury trials to 31 July. The chief justice initially suspended new jury trials for a two-month period starting 23 March.

She said that the suspension will be regularly assessed and subject to revision if needed. Ongoing jury trials will continue.

Court of Appeal

President Stephen Kós has released the Court of Appeal’s alert level 3 protocol. The update also included the remote hearings protocol of the court.

High Court

Chief High Court Judge Geoffrey Venning has updated the High Court’s protocol to reflect how the court will operate during alert level 3.

District Court

The court will be operating at reduced capacity, following health guidelines. Chief District Court Judge Heemi Taumaunu has outlined how the court will operate under alert level 3.

The District Court has also updated its COVID-19 protocol, which can be seen here.

Ministry of Justice

The ministry has provided guidance about temporary changes to signing and witnessing of wills and the completion of oaths, declarations, and affirmations. The changes include allowing the signing and witnessing via audio-visual link. More information can be read here.

The ministry’s web pages for members of the profession and users of the courts have also been updated with information about operations under alert level 3.

The ministry has updated its list of operational courts here, as well as protocols for court operations here.

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