Courts & Tribunals enhancements

The Government is working on proposals aimed at improving and modernising the processes at New Zealand's courts and tribunals.

Parliament is now considering the Courts Matters Bill and the Tribunals Powers and Procedures Legislation Bill,  which will help make the justice system easier to use and ensure it keeps pace with people’s expectations.

The proposed reforms will update a wide range of older legislation that has failed to keep pace with modern practice. They will help ensure tribunals continue to be the first option for timely, specialist decision-making and dispute resolution outside the court system.

Proposed changes include: 

  • increasing the financial threshold for the Disputes Tribunal from $15,000 to $30,000 so more disputes can be resolved by the tribunal, which is a cheaper and faster alternative to a court case
  • 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
  • streamlining processes for lower level offences punishable by community work by allowing defendants to enter a written guilty or not guilty plea rather than making a physical appearance in court
  • extending the powers of Court Security Officers to deny entry, and to remove and detain troublemakers so that people are safer in court buildings
  • modernising and aligning the powers and procedures of 21 tribunals administered by the Ministry of Justice, making it easier for people to resolve issues.

Find out more about the Bills:

Follow the progress of the Tribunals Powers and Procedures Legislation Bill (external link)

Follow the progress of the Courts Matters Bill (external link)

Justice Minister’s news release: Legislation to modernise courts and tribunals (1 August 2017) (external link)

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