UPDATE 13 September 2022: Courts remain an essential service and will remain open despite the presence of COVID-19 in the community.

Courts and Tribunals have protocols(external link) that provide a framework for ensuring that everyone who needs to participate in proceedings is able to do so.

Entering a court building

Access to a court or tribunal will be denied to anyone who:

  • is showing signs of illness, and tests positive to COVID-19 or:
  • has tested positive for COVID-19 within the last seven days.

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:

  • Every person in the public areas of a court building are encouraged to wear a surgical or KN95 (or equivalent). A KN95 mask must be worn by all participants in hearings, if directed by the presiding judicial officer.
  • Wash/sanitise your hands. Sanitiser is readily available throughout the buildings.

Jury trials

Detailed information about jury service, and how jury trials are operating, is outlined in the Jury Trial Guidelines that apply from 13 September 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 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

High and District Court matters will proceed in person unless you are advised otherwise. 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).

Specialist Courts and Tribunals have implemented their own operating protocols: Courts of New Zealand - Courts and Tribunals protocols(external link)

Counter services

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 due to unforeseen circumstances. Please call 0800 COURTS (0800 268 787) if you are unsure.

Electronic filing of documents continues to be available. Court documents and applications can be filed, with online payments, using File & Pay(external link)Drop boxes for hard copy documents are also available at all court entrances. Alternative methods of filing will be accepted as per judicial protocols.

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.


Jury trials

Detailed information about jury service, and how jury trials are operating, is outlined in the Jury Trial Guidelines that apply from 13 September 2022


The High Court is New Zealand’s only court of general jurisdiction. ‘General jurisdiction’ means there are no limits on the cases the High Court can hear, either in terms of the kind of criminal offences it can hear or the amount of money being claimed in a civil case.

The High Court is the highest court in New Zealand that is able to hear cases at ‘first instance’, before any appeals.

The High Court also hears appeals from a number of other courts and tribunals, such as the District Court and Family Court.

Find out more about the history, role and structure of the High Court on the Courts of New Zealand website(external link)

Contact the High Court

The High Court has 19 court locations throughout New Zealand. Each High Court has an office (court registry) which is where applications for the court are received. 

Find High Court locations

Court business

The daily list contains information about court business in the High Court. Details in the daily list include the date, court, courtroom and the case(s) to be heard on a particular day.

Read the daily list for the High Court(external link)

Find a lawyer

If you are a party in High Court proceedings or thinking about court action, you may want to talk to a lawyer or get a lawyer to represent you. If your company is a party in High Court proceedings you should get legal advice as companies usually have to be represented by a lawyer.

You can search for a lawyer on the New Zealand Law Society website by area of practice, such as criminal and civil litigation.

Find a lawyer through the New Zealand Law Society website(external link)

Alternatively, you may be able to get free legal help through Community Law:

Find out about more about their services on the Community Law website(external link)

Fees

You may need to pay a fee if you have proceedings in the High Court. If you are a party in a civil case it is almost certain that you will have to pay fees.

Fees for the High Court are fixed (‘prescribed’) by regulation:

If you have a question about fees please contact one of the following High Court registries:

You can apply to waive, postpone or refund fees. An application is considered by a registrar or deputy registrar of the court against criteria set out in the fee regulations.

Find out more about getting help to pay court fees

Forms & documents

Many court forms and documents must be set out in a certain way which is fixed (prescribed) by legislation. The content and details to be included in a form or document will be specific to the particular circumstances of a case, and may need specialist legal advice to draft it.

If a lawyer is representing you in a court case, your lawyer will be able to help with the forms and documents.

If you are going to court without a lawyer, you will be responsible for identifying the forms and documents you will use.

Find out more about going to court without a lawyer and representing yourself

Decisions of the High Court

Decisions of the High Court may be publicly available in PDF format through the Judicial Decisions Online database or Judgments of Public Interest on the Courts of New Zealand website.

The purpose of the Judicial Decisions Online database is to make a greater number of decisions from the High Court, Court of Appeal, and Supreme Court available to the public. The database is managed by the Ministry and decisions are published after delivery to the parties, but no earlier than three days after the decisions are delivered.

The purpose of Judgments of Public Interest on the Courts of New Zealand website is to publish decisions from the High Court, Court of Appeal, and Supreme Court that are deemed to be of significant legal and public interest. Decisions on this website are published for 90 days.

More information about the criteria for publication is available on each of these websites.

Search the Judicial Decisions Online database(external link)

Search Judgments of Public Interest on the Courts of New Zealand website(external link)

Subscribe to Judicial Decision notification on the Courts of New Zealand website(external link)

Some court decisions are not publicly available due to restrictions on publication, such as a statutory prohibition or judicial order restricting publication. These decisions can only be accessed by applying to the relevant High Court to search and access court documents.

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