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
A person who has tested positive for COVID-19 may not enter a court building until they have completed 7 days self-isolation and have been symptom-free for 24 hours.
A person who is showing signs of illness may be denied entry to the court and/or be asked to do a RAT test.
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:
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)
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 in most jurisdictions. Court documents and applications can be filed, with online payments, using File & Pay(external link) or electronically by email if agreed by the Judge or Registrar. 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.
Protocols for how specific courts are operating as at 13 September 2022 are on the Courts of New Zealand website(external link)(external link)
You can find the protocols for how tribunals are operating as at 13 September 2022, on the specific tribunal pages.
Lawyers and Community Law Centres are open and able to provide legal advice. Visit Legal Aid Lawyers and New Zealand Law Society to find a list of lawyers.
The decision about whether parties may appear in person or not is made by the presiding judge.
Further questions? Call 0800 COURTS
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