Business Continuity Plan (BCP) for Remote Courts

The Ministry of Justice (the Ministry), as part of its business continuity response, may activate its remote courts operating model to deliver services within the Senior Courts, District Courts, Specialist Courts and Tribunals. Activation would proceed following a disruptive incident or emergency.

More information about what courts are doing during COVID-19 restrictions can be found on the Courts of New Zealand website.(external link)

Attending a remote courts hearing

BCP Remote Courts enables courts and tribunals to run events remotely during an incident or emergency. The incident or emergency could be national, regional or local and the number of courts and tribunals affected may vary.

In cases using remote courts (previously referred to as remote participation), some or all people involved in the case (including the Judge and the Registrar) will attend by teleconference (phone), by videoconference (VC) using Virtual Meeting Rooms (VMRs), or using Microsoft Teams (a meeting solution that uses an internet browser or the Teams app on a computer, tablet or smartphone).

The judge in charge of each case will decide if people need to come to court or if they will use remote courts. Court staff will let you know if you need to participate remotely. Otherwise, any existing arrangements will remain in place.

The Quick Reference Guides below contain guidance on the processes to follow if you are required to participate in a remote courts event.

Quick Reference Guide – Remote courts information for participants [PDF, 413 KB]

Quick Reference Guide – Virtual Meeting Rooms Guest User [PDF, 200 KB]

Quick Reference Guide – Microsoft Teams Guest User [PDF, 323 KB]

Training video: External participants - How to attend a remote court using Microsoft Teams(external link)

Filing documents with the courts during COVID-19

Information on filing of court documents and payment of filing fees is contained in the court protocols on the Courts of New Zealand website.(external link)

Information on how to file by email, if required, is in this Quick Reference Guide [PDF, 339 KB]

How remote courts works

Before a remote courts hearing occurs, the court will email you with an Outlook meeting invitation that will provide you with the details required to connect to the meeting. This will differ depending on the type of remote courts event that is to occur. Any email communication or meeting invitations that you receive will use the BCC function to prevent the sharing of contact details.

Refer to the Quick Reference Guides (above) for information on connecting to a remote courts event. 

If it is not possible for you to attend the hearing remotely, please tell the court and ask for approval to attend the hearing in person.

Media participation

District Court staff will continue to provide regional daily lists to accredited court reporters for all criminal proceedings during COVID-19 Alert Levels 3 and 2. Daily lists for the High Courts and the Court of Appeal are publicly available on the Courts of New Zealand website(external link). Accredited media may request press sheets for specific defendants or cases. Accredited media have a right to attend hearings in all but exceptional circumstances and can register their interest to attend with the court where the matter will be heard. They may continue to join the video conference on the basis that they remain muted and do not record sound or capture video without express permission of the judge. The judge will decide if there is anything the media cannot report.

Find out more

Regular updates will continue to be made to this page.

Also see the following links:

Courts of New Zealand website COVID-19 updates(external link)

Courts of New Zealand website Court Protocols(external link)

District Court website(external link)

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