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— Total Criminal

The vast majority of criminal cases in New Zealand come before District Court judges, and the criminal jurisdiction accounts for most of the District Court’s work.

The workload includes cases across the spectrum and a steady diet of complex and serious cases which have the most impact on the workload of judges working in the criminal jurisdiction.

The business of the District Court was affected markedly by the COVID-19 crisis. For example, as a result of lockdown periods the court was unable to conduct all scheduled hearings to advance criminal cases, and considerable backlog resulted.

Graph showing criminal cases by year for new business, disposals and active cases.


  2015-2016 2016-2017 2017-2018 2018-2019 2019-2020
New Business 136,989 138,735 132,705 128,746 120,542
Disposals 133,470 137,153 131,516 127,219 119,648
Active Cases 31,874 33,038 34,434 36,295 37,641

Comparing the current Fiscal year to the previous Fiscal year has seen:

   New business decrease by 8,204 cases (-6%)

   Disposals decrease by 7,571 cases (-6%)

   Active cases increase by 1,346 cases (+4%)