Remote courts information for participants

Important reminders for appearing by Microsoft Teams or by phone for your court matter
You must:
- not record take photos or videos of the hearing, smoke, use e-cigarettes or vape pens, or eat during the hearing. You may drink water
- ensure that anyone attending the hearing with you has permission from the court
- use microphones correctly. Microphones should always be on mute, unless you're giving evidence or if the presiding judge addresses you
- stay connected to the link during a short adjournment but turn your camera off and mute your microphone.

Your appearance at court may be held remotely using an audio-visual link (AVL), Microsoft Teams (Teams) or other telephone and video-conferencing method as agreed by the court or tribunal. This is called a remote court hearing or conference.

On this page:

Remote courts

You may need to attend or participate in a remote court hearing or conference. This means you’ll need to attend remotely via teleconference (phone), Virtual Meeting Rooms (VMR) or Microsoft Teams (Teams).

The judge or court or judicial officer may decide if a hearing (or ‘appearance’) will happen over the phone or by video. This might be due to an emergency event where we can’t use the courthouse, or because it is a matter that doesn’t require parties to attend in person.

You’ll be told by the court if your hearing is happening over phone or video. This will be confirmed in writing by email and will include the date and time of the hearing.

The other court participants, including the judicial officer, counsel, witnesses, victims, central registry officers (CRO) will also attend remotely.

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Virtual meeting rooms (VMR)

VMR is a remote hearing solution delivered with video conference equipment. VMR hearings require users to have access to Jabber Quick Guest software and the Mozilla Firefox web browser.

A VMR meeting will involve at least two and usually three meeting room connections – one for the judge, one for the defendant and one for all other parties.

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Microsoft Teams (Teams)

Teams is a communication and collaboration platform that allows participants to communicate via video, audio and chat. All attendees, including the judicial officer and CRO, can appear from any location.  

If you’re using:

  • a laptop or computer, you can access Teams through a web browser (Microsoft Edge is recommended) or as an application.
  • a smartphone or tablet, you must access or download the Teams application.
  • a mobile phone or landline, you’ll only be able to use the audio feature of Teams.

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

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Viewing and sharing documents

Documents will be shared differently in remote courts.

External parties may be asked to file all court documents electronically via the court’s general email address or through File and Pay.

Some documents can be shared with other parties using the Share Screen function in VMR and Teams.

You can submit documents electronically through File and Pay or by email to the relevant Court using the links below:

Courts of New Zealand – File and Pay(external link)

Contact information for Courts and Tribunals 

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Rules for remote hearings

The same rules apply to a remote hearing as they would if you were appearing in person before a judge.

When a court allows participation for a remote hearing this is a direction from the Court. This means all participants are required to follow court rules. These are called ‘Court Protocol for Participation in Remote Hearings.’ 

Compliance with court rules 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 court rules will be treated as a breach of a court order.

More information about the court rules - Court Protocol for Participation in Remote Hearings is available on the Courts of New Zealand website at the following link:

Protocol for Participation in Remote Hearings(external link)

You must follow the below rules at all times during the hearing:

  • Follow all instructions from the judge and the court taker/hearing manager
  • Dress appropriately for court, just as you would if you were going to a courthouse
  • No smoking or using e-cigarettes or vape pens
  • No eating
  • Drink water only
  • Sit in a private, quiet space where you won’t be interrupted
  • If using video, make sure your face is well lit and that your shoulders and face are fully visible on the screen
  • You must be by yourself unless the court has given permission to have someone with you
  • Do not record or take photos or videos of the hearing. This means all and any participants must:
    • not record the screen (video) or audio and must not take still photographs. This includes a prohibition on downloading or capturing, by any means, sounds or images from the video feed, whether by software or digital devices, including cell phones, and a prohibition on electronic sharing of any content from the hearing
    • not publish any report of the hearing while it is in progress. This includes publishing material on any social media platform or any other media
    • adhere to court suppression orders. This includes a prohibition on publishing information on social media.

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Information for victims

If you are a victim, you can listen in to phone hearings. If necessary, and you have the required technology, you can also appear in or watch a video hearing. That means you don’t have to be seen by other people during the hearing if you don’t want to be. 

A Court Victim Advisor will contact you to talk about options for participating in a phone or video hearing. They will also provide instructions for joining the hearing, let you know what to expect, and create a plan for following up after the hearing.

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Prepare for the remote court hearing

You’ll receive instructions about how to join the hearing remotely and contact details for the court. You’ll need to tell the court:

  • your contact phone number and email
  • if you can’t join a phone or video hearing due to limited internet access, mobile service, or device issues
  • if want to have someone join the hearing with you, such as a support worker.

To be prepared for the remote court hearing, you need:

  • the right software or apps on your device
  • a quiet, private space to sit for the hearing and to tell anyone around you (eg family/whānau or colleagues) that you cannot be disturbed during the hearing
  • all required documents and information with you. You may be asked to take an oath or affirmation at the start of the hearing. If you want to do this using a religious book or scripture, have it with you
  • to check that the phone, laptop, or tablet you are using to connect to the hearing is fully charged or connected to power
  • to put any other phones or electronic devices on silent or turn them off
  • to be seated and ready to go 15 minutes before the hearing, to avoid any delays.

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During the hearing

Phone and video hearings work the same as hearings in a court. The judge or court taker/hearing manager will tell you what will happen at the start of the hearing.

Tell the judge if you need more information or a break during the hearing.

Remember that you will be visible at all times if you are on video. Even when you aren’t talking, you must use appropriate behaviour.

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Court recordings and media coverage

The court will record phone and video hearings the same way as hearings are recorded in a courtroom.

Media applications can be made for access to the audio recording. This is done in the same way as the process for in-court media coverage.

Media guide for reporting the courts and tribunals: Edition 4.1

All media enquiries should be directed to the Media Team.

Phone: (04) 918 8836 or (021) 636 416


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Improving your internet connection

Remote courts are provided over the internet. To have the best experience: 

  • do not use free Wi-Fi as this may not be secure and may have speed and data limits
  • ensure you have a strong signal, if you’re using mobile data.

Let the court know if you don’t have access to:

  • stable and consistent internet
  • a computer with a webcam (either plugged or built into your computer)
  • a phone.

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For further information

If you are unable to organise connecting to VMR or Teams, or experience technical issues, contact 0800 COURTS (0800 268 787).

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