Ministry welcomes Otago University research into High Court civil cases

The Ministry of Justice has welcomed the release of a report by Otago University researchers into the processing of civil cases in the High Court.

The research, Wheels of Justice, intensively examined High Court civil cases and found most were handled in a timely manner. It also made several recommendations to further enhance court processes.

Tania Ott, Director Senior Courts, says the research was in line with the Ministry’s own analysis.

“While the Otago research confirms that the High Court’s handling of civil claims is very good, it has also highlighted the importance of everyone involved in a case – from the judiciary, registry staff and counsel for the parties – working together to ensure cases are dealt with in a timely manner.    

“The Ministry recognises being involved in the justice system can be a stressful experience regardless of whether it is a criminal case or a civil dispute. That’s why we’re committed to ensuring cases are managed in a timely way.”

Ms Ott says the research challenges some perceptions about the time it takes to dispose of cases.  

“The research has helpfully confirmed that just because one case takes longer than another does not mean it’s been delayed. Some cases are highly complex and it can take time before all the parties are ready to proceed. But there will always be room for improvement, and the research has highlighted some areas to focus on.”

Ms Ott says the researchers made several recommendations, particularly around data sourced from the Court’s Case Management System (CMS). 

“CMS is foremost a system to assist the courts to manage cases, and the information it contains is constantly changing as registry staff update it.  However, we’re always striving to improve the quality of data it provides and earlier this year we launched a major campaign to get everyone to double-check any data entries before they saved.”

Find out more about the research here: 

Findings from ground-breaking Otago study into NZ justice system(external link)

For Ministry media inquiries, contact: Antony Paltridge, Team Leader Media and External Relations on 027 6890667

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