UPDATE 28 April 2022: All of Aotearoa New Zealand is at Orange. New Zealand’s COVID-19 Protection Framework ('traffic light system') remains in place. Courts remain an essential service throughout all COVID-19 restrictions, but may operate differently.
Courts and Tribunals have protocols that guide court operations under all stages of the Framework.
Entering a court building
Access to a court or tribunal will be denied to anyone who:
Health and Safety
There may be limits on the number of people not directly involved in proceedings who can be physically present in courtrooms and court buildings.
To protect the safety of all court participants and staff, the following health and safety measures can be expected if you are visiting a court or tribunal:
COVID-19 QR codes and manual contact tracing registers remain available for those who wish to use them.
Jury trials under the COVID-19 Protection Framework
Jury trials can be conducted at all settings under the Framework (Red, Orange, and Green).
Detailed information about jury service, and how jury trials are operating, is outlined in the Jury Trial Bubble Guidelines that apply from 26 April 2022.
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.
Excusals and deferrals for jury trials
If you are not willing to undergo regular COVID-19 screening, you may ask, before you come to court, to have your jury service deferred. You should complete the “Response to Jury summons” form provided to you, selecting “other personal circumstances” and include the reason in the space provided before returning it to the Ministry in the pre-paid envelope provided.
If you have experienced changes to family or financial circumstances as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, or if you have health and safety concerns, you may request to have your jury service excused or deferred (postponed). Please contact your local court for more information.
Find contact details for a court or tribunal
Other types of cases
At the Orange setting, High and District Court matters will continue to be conducted remotely where possible. Other matters will proceed in person. Call 0800 COURTS (0800 268 787) or contact the registry directly at Contact us if you have questions about a specific case.
Please note that all people attending Court for hearings longer than one day may be asked to take a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) or provide confirmation that you have taken a RAT on each morning before the hearing commences.
Many Specialist Courts and Tribunals have implemented their own operating protocols: Courts of New Zealand - Courts and Tribunals protocols
Public court counters are open. Some courts in smaller centres will have counter services available only on scheduled hearing days.
Exceptions to usual operating hours may occur at times. Please call 0800 COURTS (0800 268 787) if you are unsure.
Electronic filing of documents continues to be encouraged. Court documents and applications can be filed, with online payments, using File & Pay. Drop boxes for hard copy documents are also available at all court entrances. Alternative methods of filing will be accepted as per judicial protocols.
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.
For more information for court users, see: Information for all court and tribunal users.
Please refer to the Courts of NZ website for further updates and specific court protocols: Courts of New Zealand - Courts and Tribunals protocols.
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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