Supreme Court to bolster electronic document use in proceedings

The court published a practice note and a protocol for civil and criminal matters

Supreme Court to bolster electronic document use in proceedings

The Supreme Court of New Zealand (Te Kōti Mana Nui o Aotearoa) is looking to bolster the use of electronic documents in proceedings.

The court published a practice note for civil matters and a protocol for criminal matters. The amendments laid out will take effect 1 November.

In civil hearings, “an electronic case on appeal, bundle of authorities, submissions and chronology will be required in all civil appeals unless a judge directs otherwise,” the practice note said. Moreover, an electronic case on appeal that was utilised before the Court of Appeal can be used in an appeal before the Supreme Court, as per court’s directions and with necessary amendments.

Submissions for applications for leave to appeal may also be made electronically.

“Only two paper copies of the case on appeal will be required in future (instead of the six paper copies currently required) and only one paper copy of the bundle of authorities will be required (instead of six),” Chief Justice Dame Helen Winkelmann said.

The protocol for criminal matters enables but does not require the filing of electronic documents in criminal appeals before the court. The Supreme Court Registry prepares the case on appeal and presents it to counsel in an electronic medium.

Nonetheless, while counsel are encouraged to make submissions electronically, “opposing parties or counsel are entitled to service of paper copies of submissions and authorities. Counsel should bear in mind that some parties, notably self-represented parties who are in custody, may not have ready access to computers,” the protocol said.

Submissions should generally be filed in PDF format, with the exception of large Excel spreadsheets. They may be filed through either email or a USB drive if necessary.

The requirements are similar for proceedings before the Court of Appeal.

“The objective of these changes is to reduce costs and increase efficiency and convenience for counsel and parties,” Winkelmann said.

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