Important notice for remote hearings: Court participants must follow the court rules and protocols, and must not record, photograph or publish any part of a remote court hearing. This is a breach of the court's protocol and will be treated as a breach of a court order.
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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 Court, 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)
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.
Hearings, including remote hearings, are open to the public unless directed otherwise. The court may allow family, whānau, media and the public to view the hearing remotely.
If you wish to apply to view a hearing remotely, you should contact the registry of the relevant court by email or telephone. The request should be made before 1 pm on the working day before the hearing. Details of the courts’ email addresses and telephone numbers can be found at:
Court participants must not record, photograph, or publish any part of a remote court hearing.
Court participants must follow the court’s protocol for participation in remote court hearings.
The same requirements for participants physically present in court apply to participants involved remotely or virtually. This means participants must:
When a court permits participation for a remote hearing, this is a direction from the court. This means all participants are required to follow court protocols, including compliance with Court Protocol for Participation in Remote Hearings.
Compliance with court protocols and directions are essential to preserving the integrity of the court process and to protect the privacy of those involved in the proceeding. Failure to comply with paragraphs 9(d), 16 and 17 of this Protocol will be treated as a breach of a court order.
Failure to comply with this Protocol will be treated as a breach of a court order and can result in a fine of up to $100,000 and/or imprisonment of up to 6 months.
More information about Court Protocol for Participation in Remote Hearings is available on the Courts of New Zealand website at the following links:
The below links and Quick Reference Guides contain guidance on the processes to follow if you are required to participate in a remote courts event.
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)
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 above links and Quick Reference Guides 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.
District Court staff will continue to provide regional daily lists to accredited court reporters for all criminal proceedings during the COVID-19 Protection Framework.
Daily lists for the High Court 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.
If you wish to apply to view a hearing remotely, you should contact the registry of the relevant court by email or telephone.
Regular updates will continue to be made to this page.
Also see the following links:
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