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UPDATE 20 October 2021: The Auckland region and some areas of Waikato, including Hamilton City, are at COVID-19 Alert Level 3. The remainder of Aotearoa New Zealand is at COVID-19 Alert Level 2.
Courts remain an essential service throughout all COVID-19 alert levels but are operating differently.
The Chief Justice has announced that ALL Waikato courts will operate under Alert Level 3 protocols at least until the Alert Level is next reviewed.
Chief Justice media statement 19 October 2021
Chief Justice media statement 10 October 2021
Jury trials at Alert Level 3
In the Auckland region, no new jury trials will begin in the High Court or District Court until at least November 2021. Jury trials that were underway prior to Alert Level 4 will remain adjourned (put on hold).
No new jury trials will begin during Alert Level 3 in the Hamilton High Court or District Court. Ministry of Justice staff are contacting court participants to advise them.
Jurors who are summoned to attend the Hamilton High Court or District Court during the Alert Level 3 period do not need to attend. Further advice will be provided after the Alert Levels are next reviewed.
Jury trials at Alert Level 2
For the rest of New Zealand, jury trials re-commenced in the District Court from 8 September 2021. However, judges will decide on a case-by-case basis whether each trial can proceed, taking into account the case's individual circumstances. Scheduled High Court jury trials re-commenced from 20 September 2021.
If you have received a jury service summons, you can check if you need to attend jury service on our website at: Check if you need to attend jury service.
In the Auckland and Waikato regions, District Court matters considered 'priority proceedings' will be conducted remotely where possible in the Criminal, Family, Youth and Civil jurisdictions. High Court business will also be conducted remotely where possible. Call 0800 COURTS (0800 268 787) or contact the registry directly at Contact us if you have questions about a specific case and whether it is a ‘priority proceeding’.
For the rest of New Zealand, courts will progressively increase their workload as local conditions and capacity allow, in line with the updated Alert Level 2 protocols (see link below).
Court counters are closed during Alert Level 3. In Auckland and Waikato courts operating under Alert Level 3 protocols, you can file court documents and applications and make payments online, using File & Pay. Alternative methods of filing will be accepted as per judicial protocols.
For the rest of New Zealand, court counters are open as normal in all courts under Alert Level 2, with appropriate health and safety measures in place.
For more information for court users, see: Information for all court and tribunal users.
Please refer to Courts of NZ website for further updates and specific court protocols:
Courts of New Zealand - court protocols
Please do not come to the courthouse if you are feeling unwell. Contact 0800 COURTS (0800 268 787) if you cannot enter the courthouse or are not sure whether to attend. Find contact details for a court or tribunal.
Health and Safety
We are following Ministry of Health guidelines to protect the health and safety of all court participants and staff.
Entry to court buildings is restricted during heightened Alert Levels. For those permitted in court buildings, please wear a mask, wash/sanitise your hands, and maintain social distancing.
Everyone entering the court is required to sign in. Court participants are strongly encouraged to download the NZ COVID Tracer app and use mobile devices to scan the COVID-19 QR code at the main entrance of a courthouse, or use the manual contact tracing register.
Follow the link above to court protocols for information applicable to your region.
There is more information in our health and safety factsheets available from the top of our COVID-19 hub page.
Find out what jury service involves, what to do if you can’t go, what you get paid and what employers need to know.
How to get legal aid or free community legal help, what to expect at court and information about representing yourself, filing and serving, court fees and hearing schedules.
Civil cases can include disputes over business contracts or debts, or disputes between neighbours, or debt recovery. You can also get a Restraining Order or Non-Contact Order.
The majority of criminal cases go through the District Court. If it's a very serious crime the case could go to the High Court.
The Youth Court deals with criminal offending by children and young people that is too serious to be dealt with by the police in the community.
The Family Court deals with matters like the care of children, divorce and orders to look after people and their property.
Coroners look at when, where, how and why unexpected, violent or suspicious deaths happened, and if anything can be done to prevent similar deaths.
The Employment Court hears and determines cases relating to employment disputes.
The Environment Court largely deals with appeals about the contents of regional and district plans and appeals arising out of applications for resource consents.
The Māori Land Court is a judicial forum where people who own or have an interest in Māori land can interact about the current and future use, ownership, occupation and/or management of Māori land.
The High Court can hear criminal and civil cases, as well as appeals from lower courts or tribunals.
The Court of Appeal deals with appeals from cases heard in the High Court and serious criminal charges heard in District Courts.
The Supreme Court is New Zealand's highest court and our final appeal court. The court hears appeals when they relate to the interests of justice.
Some decisions are published by the judiciary from courts and tribunals. Not all decisions are published.
Resources for lawyers and service providers, including legal aid, Criminal Procedure Act, interpreters, JPs and restorative justice.
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