COVID-19 Information

The District Court During Covid-19 Pandemic Response Period

The District Court is doing some things differently to ensure it can deliver essential justice services safely during the COVID-19 pandemic response period.

Changes to processes and procedures may vary depending on the Alert Level, are subject to change and should be checked regularly by court users. The following announcements, advice and guidance is designed to assist the public; court participants, jurors and professionals; justice service agencies; and the media.

From 11.59pm Wednesday 7 October, Auckland will join the rest of New Zealand at COVID-19 Alert Level 1.

As a result, from Thursday 8 October, the District Court’s COVID-19 Alert Level 1 Protocol will apply across all its locations, nationwide.

Current Protocols and Practice Notes
For Legal Practitioners and Youth Court Advocates
Participants/Media releases
Previous Protocols

Current Protocols and Practice Notes

District Court Protocols Under Alert Level 1— as at 6 October 2020 
Protocols for Alert Level 1 for all divisions of the District Court during Alert Level 1. Includes District Court civil jurisdiction, criminal jurisdiction, Family Court, Youth Court and Accident Compensation Appeals.

Date issued: 10 June 2020
Date amended: 6 October 2020
Date amended: 25 September 2020
Date amended: 21 September 2020

Categories: District Court (Criminal, Civil), Family Court, Youth Court and ACC

Court Protocol Under Alert Level 2 — as at 25 September 2020
Protocol for Alert Level 2 for all divisions of the District Court subject to Alert Level 2. Includes District Court civil jurisdiction, criminal jurisdiction, Family Court, Youth Court and Accident Compensation Appeals

Date issued: 12 August 2020
Date amended: 31 August 2020 — amendment to para 11(c) and addition of (f)–(j) regarding expected hygiene practices and wearing of facemasks.
Date amended: 25 September 2020 — amendments to introductory paragraph and para 11.

Categories: District Court (Criminal, Civil), Family Court, Youth Court and ACC

District Court Protocol Under Alert Level 3 — as at 12 August 2020
Protocol for Alert Level 3 for all divisions of the District Court subject to Alert Level 3. Includes District Court civil jurisdiction, criminal jurisdiction, Family Court, Youth Court and Accident Compensation Appeals.  

Date issued: 12 August 2020

Categories: District Court (Criminal, Civil), Family Court, Youth Court and ACC

Family Court Covid-19 Protocol for the Adoption of New Zealand Surrogate Babies born overseas
Protocol for the Adoption of New Zealand Surrogate Babies born overseas.  This protocol aims to provide a temporary, targeted response to the specific issue of the inability to obtain a passport in the country of the baby’s birth ...

Date issued: 20 August 2020

Categories: Family Court

District Court Protocol — Isolation and Quarantine
This protocol applies to every person who must, under either the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Air Border) Order 2020 and COVID-19 Public Health Response (Maritime Border) Order 2020 or under any other order or enactment, be isolated or quarantined for a required period

Date issued: 27 July 2020

Categories: District Court (Criminal, Civil), Family Court, Youth Court and ACC

For Legal Practitioners and Youth Court Advocates

 

For Media and Court Participants/Media releases

FAQs for Youth Court Professionals on COVID-19 Alert Level 2 & Alert Level 3
Frequently Asked Questions for Youth Court professionals on the Ministry of Justice website.

Date issued: 13 August 2020

Categories: Youth Court

 
 

Media Statement by the Chief Justice
Statement: Arrangements for courts of New Zealand. Statement from the Chief Justice explaining the approach the courts will take in Auckland from 8 October 2020, and the arrangements that continue for the rest of the country.

Date issued: 6 October 2020

Categories: District Court

FAQs for Youth Court Professionals on COVID-19 Alert Level 2

Frequently Asked Questions for Youth Court professionals on the Ministry of Justice website.

Date issued: 14 May 2020

Categories: Youth Court

 

Media Statement by the Chief Justice
Statement: Jury Trials Arrangements for the Week Beginning 21 September. Statement from the Chief Justice explaining the approach the courts will take next week if the Alert Levels change.

Date issued: 18 September 2020

Categories: District Court (Jury trials)

FAQs for Youth Court Professionals on COVID-19 Alert Level 3
Frequently Asked Questions for Youth Court professionals on the Ministry of Justice website.

Date issued: 5 May 2020

Categories: Youth Court


 
 

Media Statement by the Chief Justice
Statement: Explaining that jury trials will resume in Auckland from Monday 7 September 2020 and provides information as to the arrangements put in place to keep jurors safe while Auckland remains at Alert Level 2 with extra restrictions..

Date issued: 3 September 2020

Categories: District Court (Jury trials)

Guidelines for Practitioners during period of Epidemic Notice
Regarding unsworn affidavits, Electronic Filing/Remote hearings and Electronic Service.

Date issued: 16 April 2020

Categories: District Court (Criminal, Civil), Family Court, Youth Court

 

Media Statement by the Chief Justice
Statement: Masks in Court from Monday 31 August 2020. This statement explains the courts’ policy for masks in the Auckland region starting from Monday 31 August. It also encourages the use of masks in courthouses elsewhere in the country.

Date issued: 28 August 2020

Categories: District Court (Jury trials)

Letter to Youth Advocates 3 April 2020

Letter from Principal Youth Court Judge, Judge John Walker re Closure of Courts and Whanau/support persons in the Youth Court. Includes a map of the process which has been developed allowing primarily for remote attendance of whanau/caregivers but which allows for actual attendance where technology is not available.

Date issued: 3 April 2020

Categories: Youth Court


 

 

 

Media Statement by the Chief Justice 
Statement: confirming jury trials scheduled to start in the week of 31 August in the Auckland District Court and Manukau District Court will not proceed and re-confirming that all trials scheduled to be heard in the rest of the country will continue as scheduled.

Date issued: 27 August 2020

Categories: District Court (Jury trials)

Communication to the Profession — Update 1 April
Confirming that all defendants who are in custody will appear before a Judge for all scheduled appearances during the Alert Level 4 period. Including priority proceedings, PPE, AVL and Virtual Meeting Rooms.

Date issued: 1 April 2020

Categories: District Court (Criminal, Civil), Family Court, Youth Court

 

Media Statement by the Chief Justice 
Statement: Jury trials for the weeks beginning 17 and 24 August 2020. Including information on jury trials and juror attendance in areas subject to Alert Level 3 and Alert Level 2.

Date issued: 14 August 2020

Categories: District Court 

Letter to the Profession — Re Update Regarding Proceedings in the District Court During Alert Level 4
Letter to the profession regarding defendants who are in custody and scheduled to appear in the District Court. Includes VMR, priority proceedings and PPE.

Date issued: 1 April 2020

Categories: District Court (Criminal, Civil), Family Court, Youth Court

 

Media Statement by the Chief Justice 
Statement: At Alert Level 3 jury trials at the Auckland High Court and the District Court at Manukau and Auckland remain suspended until Monday 17 August. There is no change to the advice (Tuesday) that jurors in Auckland will be contacted by registries regarding attendance for the week beginning 17 August. The rest of the country is at Alert Level 2. Jury trials in courts outside of Auckland will resume on Thursday 13 August.

Date issued: 12 August 2020

Categories: District Court (Criminal, Civil), Family Court, Youth Court

 

Chief Justice's letter to the profession — limiting access to courthouses
Letter from the Chief Justice regarding limitations on members of the public entering courthouses during COVID-19 alert level 4

Date issued: 26 March 2020

Categories: District Court (Criminal, Civil), Family Court


 

 

 

 

Media Statement by the Chief Justice 
Statement: Following the Prime Minister’s announcement that Auckland would be moving to Alert level 3 from 12 noon Wednesday August 12, the Chief Justice Helen Winkelmann has announced that jury trials in progress in the Auckland region are suspended until Monday ... a 24-hour suspension of jury trials throughout the rest of the country to allow time for the courts to re-establish the public safety measures which apply at Alert Level 2.

Date issued: 11 August 2020

Categories: District Court (Criminal, Civil), Family Court, Youth Court

Communication to the Profession re 24 March 2020

Proceedings determined by the Chief District Court Judge to take priority in the District Court.

Date issued: 23 March 2020.
Updated: 24 March 2020

Categories: District Court (Criminal, Civil), Family Court, Youth Court


 

 

 

15 June — Update: COVID-19 Guide for Media: Covering court at Alert Level 1

An updated guide for media on covering the District Court at Alert Level 1.

Categories: District Court (Criminal, Civil), Family Court, Youth Court and ACC

Date issued: 15  June 2020

Categories: District Court (Criminal, Civil), Family Court, Youth Court and ACC

Letter to Youth Advocates — 23 March 2020
Letter from Principal Youth Court Judge, Judge John Walker re the use of AVL for those in Custody and reducing appearances generally.

Date issued: 23 March 2020

Categories: Youth Court

 

13 May — New Protocol for the District Court at Alert Level 2

Statement by the Chief District Court Judge regarding the  new protocol to guide New Zealand’s biggest court as it continues to deliver an essential service during Alert Level 2 of the pandemic response.

Categories: District Court (Criminal, Civil), Family Court, Youth Court and ACC

Date issued: 13 May 2020

Categories: District Court (Criminal, Civil), Family Court, Youth Court and ACC

Suspension of Jury Trials` District Court Interim Response — Thursday 19 March 2020
Communication regarding decision taken to cancel all jury trials currently listed to be heard over the next two months.

Date issued: 19 March 2020

Categories: District Court - Criminal

 

Revised practice notes and protocols to be published for COVID-19 alert level 2
Media statement from the Chief Justice of New Zealand re revised practice notes and protocols in the event the Government announces an immediate or phased step-down to COVID-19 Alert Level 2....

Date issued: 8 May 2020

Categories: District Court (Criminal, Civil), Family Court and Youth Court

Date issued: 8 May 2020

Categories: District Court (Criminal, Civil), Family Court and Youth Court

   

Extra measures to observe COVID-19 Alert Level 3
Media statement from the Chief District Court Judge regarding extra steps in relation to the safety of court participants and observance of COVID-19 Alert Level 3 restrictions when the court reopens to the public on Tuesday 28 April.

Date issued: 27 April 2020

Categories: District Court (Criminal, Civil), Family Court, Youth Court and ACC

   

The District Court under COVID-19 Alert Level 3
Media statement from the Chief District Court Judge explaining how District Courts will operate under Alert Level 3.

Date issued: 24 April 2020

Categories: District Court (Criminal, Civil), Family Court, Youth Court and ACC

   

COVID 19 — Guide for Media
Guide for media reporting the courts under COVID 19 alert levels

Date issued: 17 April 2020

Categories: District Court (Criminal, Civil), Family Court, Youth Court

   

Chief Justice: Update on operation of the courts under COVID-19 alert levels
Summary of changes to the operation of the courts entering the third week of COVID-19 alert level 4 and looks ahead to how the courts will operate in the short and medium term under alert restrictions, noting: 
Extension of suspension of jury trials until Friday 31 July 2020; Increased capacity for virtual hearings and remote participation; Registries remain open for electronic or postal filing of all court documents; and Focus on resumption of judge alone trials as soon as possible.

Date issued: 8 April 2020

Categories: District Court (Criminal, Civil), Family Court, Youth Court

   

1 April 2020 UPDATE — District Court Sittings During the Alert 4 Period
Statement from the Chief District Court Judge, Judge Heemi Taumaunu: UPDATE —District Court Sittings During the Alert 4 Period

Date issued: 1 April 2020

Categories: District Court (Criminal, Civil), Family Court, Youth Court

   

Public access to courts tightened for safety reasons
Statement: Media Statement by the Chief Justice of New Zealand, regarding exclusion from courthouses members of the public whose attendance is not required for the business of the court that day under Alert Level 4.

Date issued: 26 March 2020

Categories: District Court (Criminal, Civil), Family Court, Youth Court

   

District Court Sittings During the Alert Level 4 Period
Statement from the Chief District Court Judge including priority proceedings, availability of Judges and how to file documents.

Date issued: 25 March 2020 

Categories: District Court (Criminal, Civil), Family Court, Youth Court

 

 

 

 

Children In Shared Care — And Covid-19
Statement from the Principal Family Court Judge, Judge Jacquelyn Moran:
Clarification regarding the care arrangements of children subject to Family Court orders

Date issued: 24 March 2020

Categories: Family Court

 

 

Previous Protocols

District Court Protocols Under Alert Level 3 — as at 23 April 2020
Protocols for Alert Level 3 for all divisions of the District Court during Alert Level 3. Includes District Court civil jurisdiction, criminal jurisdiction, Family Court, Youth Court and Accident Compensation Appeals.

Date issued: 23 April 2020
Last amended: 29 April 2020 — minor amendment to para 45, Youth Court Protocol, Young People in Oranga Tamariki Custody, by inserting the note "This will also include people held in a Department of Corrections Facility."

Categories: District Court (Criminal, Civil), Family Court, Youth Court and ACC

 

District Court Protocols Under Alert Level 2 — as at 13 May 2020
Protocols for Alert Level 2 for all divisions of the District Court during Alert Level 2. Includes District Court civil jurisdiction, criminal jurisdiction, Family Court, Youth Court and Accident Compensation Appeals.

Date issued: 13 May 2020

Categories: District Court (Criminal, Civil), Family Court, Youth Court and ACC

 

Practice Note: District Court Practice Note 
Practice note issued by the Chief District Court Judge on 22 May 2020.  Appeals by a business or undertaking against order under s 11 of the COVID-19 Public Response Act 2020 to close or cease operations ...

Date issued: 22 May 2020
Date expired:  Ceases to have effect from 8:00 am Wednesday 10 June 2020.

Categories: District Court

Practice Note: Civil proceedings — COVID-19 preparedness
Practice note coming into effect 23 April 2020 re  ... guidance as to the manner in which practitioners, parties, and other participants in the District Court can expect judges to use their power under s 24 to modify the applicable District Court Rules 2014 while the epidemic notice is in force ...

Date issued: 23 April 2020
Date expired: Ceases to have effect from 8:00 am Wednesday 10 June 2020.

Categories: District Court (Civil)

 

 

 

 

See also:

Ministry of Justice: Covid-19 Information
Courts of New Zealand