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(external link) 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:

  • is showing signs of illness, or has a body temperature of 38 degrees or higher
  • has tested positive for COVID-19 and is required to isolate
  • is a household contact of a confirmed case of COVID-19
  • is not wearing a surgical or KN95 (or equivalent) mask. Masks will be provided at the entry to the court building for those who do not have their own mask.

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 must wear a surgical or KN95 (or equivalent) mask at all times. A KN95 mask must be worn by all participants in jury trials, and by participants in hearings, if directed.
  • Wash/sanitise your hands. Sanitiser is readily available throughout the buildings.
  • Maintain physical distancing.

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 [PDF, 172 KB].

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(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. 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(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.

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).

Court protocols

Protocols for how specific courts are operating under the COVID-19 Protection Framework (traffic light system) are on the Courts of New Zealand website(external link).

People who are currently held in managed isolation or quarantine and wish to access the District Court in person need to apply for permission from a judge.

Read more about the District Court protocol for Isolation and Quarantine(external link)

Tribunal protocols

You can find the protocols for how tribunals are operating under the COVID-19 Protection Framework (traffic light system) on the specific tribunal pages.

Go to Tribunals

Legal advice

Lawyers and Community Law Centres can provide legal advice during COVID-19 restrictions while observing public health measures. Visit Legal Aid Lawyers and New Zealand Law Society to find a list of lawyers.

Community Law Centres(external link) 

Legal Aid Lawyers(external link)

New Zealand Law Society(external link)

Remote proceedings

The decision about whether parties must appear in person or not is made by the presiding judge.

Read more information about appearing by video conference and teleconference. 

For more information on requesting

  • a new hearing date for court matters, call 0800 COURTS 
  • a new hearing date for fines or civil enforcement matters, call 0800 4 FINES (0800 434 637)

Further questions? Call 0800 COURTS

For more advice and information on COVID-19:

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