The Government has been working to improve and modernise the processes at New Zealand’s courts and tribunals. This has been established through the Courts Matters Act 2018 and the Tribunals Powers and Procedures Legislation Act 2018.
On 14 November 2018, the first group of amendments came into force which ranged from:
The ability to deal with matters on the papers (without the need of going to court) or with the use of audio visual links
Being able to award name suppression to a party or all parties in a case
Additional Deputy Chairpersons being appointed to the Human Rights Review Tribunals to deal with backlog of cases and reduce waiting times
Modernising and aligning the powers and procedures of 21 tribunals administered by the Ministry of Justice, making it easier for people to resolve issues
Extending the powers of Court Security Officers to deny entry, and to remove and detain troublemakers so that people are safer in court buildings
Giving Registrars the ability to collect outstanding debt (including reparation) faster and more efficiently
The final group of amendments will come into force on 29 October 2019 which will introduce the following:
The Disputes Tribunal monetary threshold will increase from $15,000 to $30,000
Dispute Tribunal enforcement fees will have to be paid upfront when applying for enforcement of tribunal orders
Giving the Real Estate Agents Disciplinary Tribunal power to take stronger action and award compensation of up to $100,000 for financial losses in more cases. It will also introduce a filing fee of $30 for appeals and reviews made to the Tribunal.
Updating and formatting forms across to improve the experience for people completing these forms
The ability to delegate the specific powers of a chairperson to a Tribunal member or appoint a temporary chairperson for a certain period of time
Simpler processes for placing charges on real property such as land, and forcibly selling real property to enforce large overdue fines
Authorising the filing in court of video records of witness interviews without the required declaration of truth where the witness is unable to provide this due to their youth or disability.