The Chief Justice through recent publications to the profession has clarified how Courts intend to operate under Alert Level 4 in New Zealand.
Each Court has also released its own protocols providing helpful guidance for litigants, which can be viewed on the Courts of New Zealand website.
The message includes:
- Courts are an Essential Service, which will continue in a limited capacity to ensure that Priority Proceedings are dealt with.
- Priority proceedings include matters considered to be of such “significant national” or “community importance”, or involving the liberty of the individual, warranting the immediate attention of the Court.
- Court appearances will be by AVL and teleconference where possible.
- We are still able to file new claims in Court, with the Courts introducing new and flexible filing methods to minimise person to person contact.
The District Court is only conducting Priority Proceedings during Alert Level 4. All other proceedings in the District Court are being delayed to a later date. For our clients who are affected by this, you can expect to hear from us, often after we have obtained clarification from the Court Registrars who are allocating new hearing dates.
The High Court is continuing to conduct all matters, albeit remotely – with exceptions which seem to be proceeding on a case-by-case basis. The fortnightly High Court Civil and Insolvency list has been deferred until further notice. Jury trials are being adjourned and rescheduled to later dates.
Currently we are drawing on our expertise with AV technology and paperless files to continue to assist our clients with current and future claims in this evolving situation. For suitable claims we are working with clients on develop alternative dispute resolution options, such as mediation and negotiation through AVL, to maintain momentum.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.