UPDATE 31 August: Courts and tribunals are operating differently at the moment. Please 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.

All jury trials in the Auckland region are suspended until 4 September. See Information about Courts and Tribunals

Use of face masks in court buildings
Face masks should be worn while in public areas of Auckland court buildings effective from 31 August until further notice. For more information go to Courts of New Zealand website(external link)


Last updated 1 September 11.05am


The Family Court is operating for all priority work.  Family violence proceedings, including applications for protection orders are one of these priorities.

Where possible, the Family Court will also undertake scheduled work.  This will vary depending on location and relevant COVID-19 Alert Levels so you should call 0800 COURTS (0800 268 787) if you think you may need to come into court.

Protection order conditions will remain in place with free access to safety programmes.

On this page:

Staying safe during COVID-19 restrictions

The government continues to take family violence and sexual violence very seriously. Violence is a crime at any time.
Family violence and sexual violence services are essential services and will remain available, even if services need to be delivered in different ways.

More information on family violence and sexual violence is available on the COVID-19 government website(external link).

Getting legal advice during COVID-19 restrictions

Lawyers will still be able to provide advice during the COVID-19 restrictions.  They will do this while still complying with COVID-19 guidance.

Legal aid will still be available. Review the list of legal aid lawyers.

You may be eligible for assistance from a Community Law Centre. You should phone them first, as a range of working practices are now in place across the country to comply with COVID-19 restrictions. Find contact details for Community Law Centres(external link).

Applying for protection orders and parenting orders

COVID-19 Alert Levels 3 and 4

You can still apply for a protection order or parenting order using the forms on the Ministry of Justice website.  You can email these to your nearest district court to be processed.  

If your application is urgent (without notice) then you must email it to your nearest court using addresses listed here:

Without notice email addresses

If your application is not urgent you can find the email address for each court via our Find Us tool. When you've found the court listing you need, click on 'more details' to find the email address:

Find court contact information

The affidavit is part of the application and normally this has to be witnessed by a court registry officer or an independent lawyer.  There have been amendments to the Family Court Rules on how to file affidavits when this is not possible during COVID-19 Alert Levels.  

If you are not being supported by a lawyer, send the affidavit even if it hasn’t been witnessed and the Judge will provide direction on it.  You do need to write at the end that you will sign and get your affidavit witnessed as soon as circumstances allow you to do that.

All applications and related documents can be filed electronically (by email) and will be recorded as filed in usual court hours of Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.  Please don’t send hard copies of any documents.

COVID-19 Alert Level 2

You can apply for a protection order or parenting order using the forms on the Ministry of Justice website.  You can email these to your nearest district court to be processed. 

If your application is urgent (without notice) then you must email it to your nearest court using addresses listed here:

Without notice email addresses

If your application is not urgent you can find the email address for each court via our Find Us tool. When you've found the court listing you need, click on 'more details' to find the email address:

Find court contact information

The affidavit is part of the application and normally this has to be witnessed by a court registry officer or an independent lawyer.  There have been amendments to the Family Court Rules on how to file affidavits when this is not possible during COVID-19 Alert Levels. 

If you are not being supported by a lawyer, send the affidavit even if it hasn’t been witnessed and the Judge will provide direction on it.  You do need to write at the end that you will sign and get your affidavit witnessed as soon as circumstances allow you to do that. All applications and related documents can be filed electronically (by email) and will be recorded as filed in usual court hours of Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.  Please don’t send hard copies of any documents.

All applications and related documents can be filed electronically (by email) and will be recorded as filed in usual court hours of Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.  

I want to object to a direction to attend a programme

An Objection to Direction to a Non-violence Programme must be filed within 10 days. If you can’t file your objection within 10 days because the court counters are closed due to COVID-19 restrictions, you will need to file an affidavit or memorandum explaining the reason for the delay in filing and this will be referred to a judge.

It will be for each judge to consider, on a case by case basis, if the timeframe in which an Objection can be filed can be extended.  If Court counters are open during Alert levels 3, 2 and 1, Objections should be filed at the court.  

Guidance for managing shared custody during COVID-19 restrictions

Please also refer to the common questions and answers for shared parenting during COVID-19 Alert Levels.

Attending court

I’ve got a sexual violence court proceeding coming up, what will happen?

COVID-19 Alert Levels 3 and 4

Court proceedings are restricted, and some proceedings will be rescheduled or delayed.  

Jury trials will not take place at Alert Levels 3 and 4.  Judge-alone trials may go ahead, and your lawyer will let you know if you need to be available to come to court.  

There will be additional safety arrangements at the court such as thermal scanning, masks, and contact tracing.   The courts will all have QR codes displayed for you to scan, or manual contact tracing registers if you do not have a smart phone.

COVID-19 Alert Level 2

Courts will conduct as much of its usual business as it is safely able to in Alert Level 2. However, some proceedings will be rescheduled or delayed.  

If you are coming to court, you can seek permission from the Judge to bring a support person or people.  Your lawyer can help you arrange this.  

There will be additional safety arrangements at the court such as thermal scanning, masks, and contact tracing.  The courts will all have QR codes displayed for you to scan, or manual contact tracing registers if you do not have a smart phone.

All COVID-19 Alert levels

We know that these changes may be distressing, and we encourage you to seek support from a sexual violence specialist or a practitioner that you may have worked with before. You can access support through Safe to Talk,(external link) which can provide free confidential contact with a trained specialist. You can also find information about other providers who may be able to help you:

Family violence help and support services(external link)

If you have any questions, please call 0800 COURTS (0800 268 787).

I’ve got a hearing coming up for my protection order/parenting order, what do I need to do?

COVID-19 Alert Levels 3 and 4

At COVID-19 Alert Levels 3 and 4 the courts will see priority cases, and where possible may undertake scheduled hearings. These may be dealt with over the phone or electronically. You will not need to come to court unless the court or your lawyer asks you to.

If you aren’t sure if you should come to court please speak to your lawyer or call 0800 COURTS (0800 268 787) for further instruction.

COVID-19 Alert Level 2

Courts will conduct most of its usual business in Alert Level 2. Some proceedings may be dealt with over the phone or electronically. If you have a scheduled date to appear in court in Alert Level 2, you will need to come to court unless you are advised otherwise. If you are unsure if your matter is scheduled to be considered, please speak to your lawyer or contact 0800 Courts (0800 268 787).  If you are self-isolating or are sick please do not come to court and contact 0800 Courts (0800 268 787).

If you are coming to court, you can seek permission from the Judge to bring a support person or people.  Your lawyer can help you arrange this or call the court to arrange this if you are self-represented.

Complying with orders

Will my protection order be enforced?

Yes. Police are operating as usual.  

Complying with my Family Court order (protection order, parenting order) is difficult because of isolation requirements or limits on travel.

Please see our information to help you make shared parenting decisions that are in the best interests of your child or children. 

If you think the children are unsafe, please notify Oranga Tamariki. Call the Police if you think they are in immediate danger.  

I was directed to attend a non-violence programme: do I still need to go? / I can’t attend a court directed programme because I am in isolation. What should I do?

You should still attend a programme but the way it is delivered may change, including doing some of the programme remotely by phone or through the web. If the provider is unable to deliver the programme they will try to provide you with other options.  
It is important that you still make contact with your provider by phone who will be able to discuss options for programme attendance with you.

You need to notify your provider of any isolation or health issues as soon as possible.

If you are unable to attend a programme because of COVID-19 restrictions the court will take that into consideration.

If you don’t stay engaged with your programme provider, the courts will be notified.

Services available to help you

I have a protection order – what services can I access to support me?

You are eligible for a funded safety programme for you and your children, which can provide you with safety planning and support.

Our contracted providers are continuing to deliver safety programmes and non-violence programmes, as required by legislation.  Your provider will talk to you about how they are delivering their programmes and can support you if you have any concerns or are self-isolating

Is my usual service provider able to help me?

COVID-19 Alert Levels 3 and 4

While many of our funded providers are physically closed, most are still available to provide support via phone or the web. If they become unavailable, you will be contacted and put in touch with alternative services. If they aren’t responding please call 0800 COURTS (0800 268 787) and let us know.

If you are in immediate danger, please call Police.  If you need advice or support, you can contact any of the agencies listed here:

Family violence help and support services(external link)

COVID-19 Alert Level 2

Our funded providers are open, and some may be able to provide support via phone or the web. If they become unavailable, you will be contacted and put in touch with alternative services. If they aren’t responding please call 0800 COURTS (0800 268 787) and let us know.

If you are in immediate danger, please call Police. If you need advice or support, you can contact any of the agencies listed here:

Family violence help and support services(external link)

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