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2019 Annual Report

District Court of New Zealand | Te Kōti ā Rohe


Our way of doing things

New Zealand is a young country by international standards but we have developed our unique way of looking at legal issues that is informed by more than just “black letter” law.

The District Court has moved over the years towards innovative solution-focused justice that takes a holistic approach to issues of criminal justice. The annual report is an opportunity to reflect on our way of doing things as well as to present information on the court’s wide jurisdiction and progress or otherwise in managing its work.

Last year we highlighted how our Triennial Conference had focused on better meeting the needs of Māori and Pasifika. In 2018-19, judges continued to pursue inclusion and diversity, including through preparation for impending legislative requirements to observe tikanga Māori concepts.

Image of the Chief Judge of the District Court, Judge Jan-Marie Doogue.

Although the reported data indicates the relentless pressure on Australasia’s largest court, we finished the year by settling on a new, empirically based formula for identifying the resources the court needs to function at its best. It will greatly assist the administration of justice and I look forward to reporting on is impact in future.

I commend all those judges and staff who contribute to this dynamic and challenging environment, and I am proud of the work they do. 


Judge Jan-Marie Doogue

Chief District Court Judge 



*Justice Jan-Marie Doogue was made a Judge of the High Court in August 2019. Judge Heemi Taumaunu was appointed Chief Judge in September 2019, after the timeframe of this report.