The Official Information Act (OIA) is an important part of New Zealand's constitutional framework. The OIA allows New Zealanders to have access to information that enables their participation in government and hold governments and government agencies to account.
The OIA allows New Zealand citizens, permanent residents, and anyone who is in New Zealand to request any official information held by government agencies - including the Ministry of Justice.
You can ask for:
We cannot provide you with information held by the courts such as sentencing notes, court records, transcriptions or information about a case currently before the court. Access to these is dealt with by separate legislation and court rules(external link) and you will need to contact the relevant court directly, the details for the courts can be found here(external link).
You do not have to request information in person from the courts. You can do so by contacting them and filling out an application. This can be done via email or by post.
Here is a link to the form you will need to complete https://www.justice.govt.nz/assets/documents/forms/201712-application-for-access-to-court-documents.pdf. Please be aware that your name and address will be given to the parties to the relevant proceeding or appeal, as a part of the application process and that this may include the defendant/offender. No other contact or personal information should be given to the parties.
Before you make a request, please read our helpful information for requesters page.
Request information from the Ministry of Justice
The Ministry of Justice can only answer requests for information that we hold. If you believe a different agency holds the information, please request the information from that agency. For example, if you are after a police file, please contact New Zealand Police. If you want information about prisons, contact the Department of Corrections and if you want information about parole, contact the Parole Board.
For information from other agencies check out the Directory of Official Information to find out what information each agency holds, and their contact details.
Requests for information from the Ministry of Justice can be sent to:
Ministry of Justice
Write the address as written above and send it the same way as any other mail. You can use an NZ Post mail box. If you use a DX mail box your mail will get to us faster.(external link)(external link)
Requests should include:
Your request should be as clear and specific as possible. You can specify the format you want the information presented in – for example by email or by post.
How long will it take?
We’ll acknowledge your request as soon as practicable and are required by law to respond no later than 20 working days after we receive it. For large requests or those requiring consultation, the Act allows for a reasonable extension to this time limit. If so, we will let you know and give you a specific due date.
If you amend your request, the 20 working days will start from the day after this amendment has been received. If we need to clarify your request and do so within the first seven working days, the 20 working day timeframe will begin again once the clarified request is confirmed.
The OIA says information should be made available unless there is good reason to withhold it. We may only withhold information for specific reasons set out in the Act. If this occurs, we will let you know why.
If you are unhappy with our response, you have the right to complain to the Office of the Ombudsman. The Chief Ombudsman recommends contacting us in the first instance to see if we can resolve the issue.
You can view the Official Information Act responses that have been proactively released by the Ministry, by using this tool:
This page was last updated: