Update: Restricted Court counter services will be available at 18 Stanley Street, Levin (nearby the closed courthouse) from Monday to Friday 10am-12.30pm and 1.30pm-3pm; and Police Registrars List from 8.30am on Thursdays.
The Ministry of Justice has implemented several interim justice services in Levin to minimise disruption during the District Court's seismic strengthening period, including leasing temporary space.
The Ministry received a seismic assessment report on 8 November recommending that strengthening work be undertaken as a high priority on the Levin District Courthouse, due to moderate earthquake risk. The court was closed effective 5pm 15 November 2019, and the registry moved to the Palmerston North District Court.
Counter services will also be operated from the Levin Police Station from Monday 25 November from 10am to 3pm and cease on Friday 6 December. These are for matters that don't require a judge, such as filing urgent document collection, managing non-appearances, bail variations and certifying documents. All other hearings and services are being operated from the Palmerston North DC.
The Ministry has also, with approval from the Chief District Court Judge,secured a temporary lease on Bateman Chambers, which are directly opposite the Levin courthouse,from which the Ministry intends to operate the Registrar's List hearings and counter services from Monday 9 December onwards, until the courthouse reopens.
Securing this temporary lease on the Bateman Chambers is vital for basic justice services to remain in the Levin community,Carl Crafar says. The Registrar's List hearing will be conducted from these chambers once a week on a Thursday.
Disputes Tribunal hearings and Justice of the Peace matters could also be accommodated at the temporary facility, this will be confirmed as soon as possible.
"I acknowledge the frustration many will be feeling with the closure of the Levin District Court," Chief Operating Officer Carl Crafar says. However, the safety of our staff, the judiciary and court participants will always come first. We cannot let people into an unsafe building.
We do need to make it as easy as possible for court participants to access justice services, which is why we have run the Registrar's List hearings from the Levin Police Station since Wednesday last week and will continue to operate from there one day per week until Friday 6 December. I thank the Chief District Court Judge, and the NZ Police, for allowing this to happen."
“Once final arrangements have been confirmed, court participants will be informed by letter or phone call,” Crafar says. Updated notices will also be posted at the Levin courthouse, online and on social media.
"We will also hold a local stakeholder meeting in Levin next week to keep everyone informed. I want to thank everyone involved for their patience while the Ministry puts these interim measures in place."
Work is underway with structural engineers to finalise the seismic strengthening work at the Levin courthouse. This will take approximately four weeks to complete.