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.

Update Link to High Court and District Court : Jury Trial Guidelines — Courts of New Zealand (courtsofnz.govt.nz)(external link)

What does the COVID-19 Protection Framework (traffic light system) mean if I need to attend a justice service or programme?

All Ministry of Justice services and programmes are available at all COVID-19 traffic light settings.

These include:

  • Family violence programmes (non-violence programmes, safety programmes, strengthening safety service)
  • Whānau protect
  • Public Trust
  • Victim Support
  • Restorative justice
  • Family disputes resolution
  • Parenting through separation
  • Community law centres

If a service provider also delivers other types of health, housing, educational, childcare or disability services, additional requirements or restrictions may apply.

Detailed guidance on social services and other justice services under the COVID-19 Protection Framework can be found in the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Protection Framework) Order 2021(external link).

What will service delivery look like under the traffic light system?

At all traffic light settings (red, orange and green), service providers must operate safely, which means:

  • complying with the traffic light setting requirements for the area(s) where they are operating
  • meeting public health requirements for their workplace (for example, having contact tracing systems and maintaining one metre physical distancing)
  • fulfilling all other health and safety obligations.

Contact your local service provider to find out about their agency's procedures under the traffic light system.

More information

Information for service participants

If you wish to access these services or have questions about the availability of services, please contact your local service provider using the links below:

Family violence
Public register of family violence safety and non-violence programme providers

Victim Support
Victim support website(external link)
0800 842 846 (24hr service) for all victims of serious crime.

Restorative justice
List of restorative justice providers

Parenting through separation and family dispute resolution
Find a service to help with disputes

Information for service providers

If you are a provider of these services and have any further questions, please contact your Ministry of Justice contract manager. For more information on providing welfare and social services across COVID-19 traffic light settings please visit the Ministry of Social Development website(external link).

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