Specialist courts

Courts remain an essential service throughout all COVID-19 alert levels but are operating differently.

For more information for court users, see: Information for all court and tribunal users.

There are a number of specialist courts in Aotearoa New Zealand within the criminal District Court system. These include the Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Court/Te Whare Whakapiki Wairua and the New Beginning Court/Te Kooti o Timatanga Hou. Please note that these courts are not available in all parts of New Zealand, and not all defendants will be able to access these courts.

Alcohol & Other Drug Treatment Court

Te Whare Whakapiki Wairua, the Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment (AODT) Court, was established in November 2012 as a pilot across two District Court sites: Auckland and Waitākere. The AODT Court has a combined maximum capacity of 100 participants at any one time, with 50 participants at each site.

The Court aims to break the cycle of offending by treating the causes of that offending. It provides an alternative to imprisonment for people whose offending is being driven by alcohol and/or drug substance use disorders.

The AODT Court provides an evidence-based, best practice treatment pathway that includes intensive monitoring, case management, drug testing, and mentoring. Sentencing is deferred while participants work through the programme, which includes regular court appearances to check on progress. The programme may take between one to two years to complete.

For more information on the AODT Court, see:

Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Court

New Beginnings & Special Circumstances court

The New Beginnings Court Te Kooti o Timatanga Hou is aimed at homeless people in Auckland. The Special Circumstances Court is aimed at homeless people in Wellington.

If you get accepted into one of these courts, you can get help to address issues in your life that contribute to your offending.

This is a voluntary court. People going through it can choose to withdraw and be returned to the normal court system at any time.

If you want to find out more about these courts, talk to your lawyer.

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