UPDATE 23 January 2022: New Zealand’s COVID-19 Protection Framework ('traffic light system') is now in place. Courts have implemented transitional protocols that guide court operations under the Red and Orange settings of the Framework. These came into effect on 6 December 2021 and remain in force until 31 January 2022. 

From 11.59pm on Sunday 23 January 2022, ALL of Aotearoa New Zealand moves to the Red setting.

Courts remain an essential service throughout all COVID-19 restrictions, but may operate differently.

The Chief Justice’s statement about Courts operations under the COVID-19 Protection Framework(external link)

Current protocols for the Courts and Tribunals under the COVID-19 Protection Framework(external link)

Jury trials

No new jury trials will begin in the District Court until 31 January 2022.

No new jury trials will begin in the High Court until 8 February 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.

Jury service under the COVID-19 Protection Framework
Jury trials can be conducted at all settings under the Protection Framework (Red, Orange, and Green).

Jurors attending court must:

  1. show a vaccine pass; or
  2. provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test administered within 72 hours of attendance; or
  3. provide evidence of a negative rapid antigen test administered within 24 hours of attendance.

Those summoned to jury service who do not meet the above requirements will be subject to separate arrangements with appropriate health and safety measures put in place by the Ministry of Justice.

If you are not fully vaccinated, or 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.

Excusals and deferrals
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 can 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 cases

In Red areas, District Court matters considered 'priority proceedings' will be conducted remotely where possible in the Criminal, Family, Youth and Civil jurisdictions. Some additional matters that are not ‘priority proceedings’ may also be conducted if it is safe to do so; participants for these matters will be contacted by the relevant court registry to confirm. 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’.

Many 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 closed in all District Court and Tribunal sites in Red areas.

In the sole High Court registries (Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch), public counters are open at all Traffic Light colours (including Red). In combined High Court/District Court registries, public counter services are subject to local arrangements.

Court documents and applications can be filed, with online payments, using File & Pay(external link). Drop boxes are also available at 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(external link)

Health and Safety
Entry to court buildings in Red areas is restricted in most courts.

More information about who can enter courts in your region is found in the court protocols.(external link)

We are following Ministry of Health guidelines to protect the health and safety of all court participants and staff. If you are visiting a court or tribunal, please wear a face mask, wash/sanitise your hands, and maintain physical distancing.

Everyone entering the court is required to sign in. Court participants are strongly encouraged to download the NZ COVID Tracer app(external link) 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.

The COVID Healthline at 0800 358 5453 is also available for 24/7 advice and information about COVID-19.

Every year, thousands of New Zealanders give their time to serve on juries in the High and District Courts. Jury service is an important way you contribute to your country and your local community. Jurors help make sure the justice system is fair for all New Zealanders.

What’s a jury?

A jury is a group of 12 people from the community, randomly selected from the Electoral Roll. They hear the evidence of a case, decide on the facts and then reach a verdict – guilty or not guilty.

Why have I received a jury summons?

If you’re enrolled to vote, you can be randomly selected (‘summoned’) for jury service.

If you’re summoned, you’ll get a letter and a form that tells you to come to court for jury service. The letter will tell you the date, time and the court you should come to. You’ll need to send the form back to the court.

You must come to court, unless you get a letter or email from the court before the court date telling you that you’ve been excused.

Even though you’ve been summoned, it doesn’t mean you’ll be selected to serve on a jury.

Watch videos about what you can expect from jury service(external link).

Face masks and hand sanitisers will be supplied by the court. Measures are in place to allow jury trials to proceed safely with appropriate physical distancing in the courtroom and jury retiring room. Court users are strongly encouraged to download the NZ COVID Tracer app(external link) and use mobile devices to scan the COVID-19 QR code at the main entrance of a courthouse, otherwise the manual contact tracing register must be used. We are following Ministry of Health guidelines to protect the health and safety of all court users and staff. 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.For more information for court users, see: Information for all court and tribunal users.Excusals and deferralsIf 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 can request to have your jury service excused or deferred (postponed). Please contact your local court for more information.