Immigration & Protection Tribunal

Operation of the Immigration and Protection Tribunal during COVID-19 Alert Level 1

With effect from Tuesday 9 June 2020


In principle, the Tribunal will return to its mode of operation that existed prior to Alert Levels 2, 3 and 4, and physical distancing is no longer required.


All hearings will be able to proceed face-to-face as was the usual practice prior to the introduction of Alert level restrictions. Nevertheless, where appropriate, the Tribunal may continue to deal with some appeals by way of remote participation. Remote participation will include the continued use of pre-hearing teleconferences and the engagement (when required) of participants in hearings, including witnesses, interpreters and parties by telephone and or audio-visual connection. This participation will be subject to parties having the technology needed to participate.

The Tribunal will give priority to those matters adjourned as a consequence of Alert Levels 4 and 3, along with any urgent matters that the Tribunal receives.

Parties are encouraged to send documents via email in the first instance, followed by hard copies as necessary, sent by courier or post.

The Immigration & Protection Tribunal hears and determines appeals concerning:

  • decisions about residence class visas
  • decisions about the recognition of a person as a refugee or protected person
  • liability for deportation
  • decisions to stop recognising a person as a refugee or protected person
  • decisions to cancel the recognition of a New Zealand citizen as a refugee or protected person.

The tribunal is administered by the Ministry of Justice. The tribunal is chaired by a District Court Judge appointed by the Governor-General on the recommendation of the Attorney-General. It has 18 members, appointed by the Governor-General on the recommendation of the Minister of Justice.

How long does it take to get a decision?

Residence appeals

These appeals are generally being determined within 3 to 6 months after the Tribunal receives them. Send any supporting documents or submissions to the Tribunal as soon as you can.

Deportation non-resident (humanitarian) appeals

These appeals are generally being determined within 2 to 4 months after the Tribunal receives them. Send any supporting documents or submissions to the Tribunal as soon as you can.

Members of the tribunal


Judge Peter Spiller


  • Martin Treadwell (Deputy Chair)
  • S Aitchison
  • M Avia
  • B Burson
  • A Clayton
  • A Davidson
  • B Dingle
  • J Donald
  • P Fuiava
  • M Martin
  • A Molloy
  • L Moor
  • S Pearson
  • Z Pearson
  • M Roche
  • V Shaw
  • D Smallholme
  • V Vervoort
  • L Wakim
  • S Benson
  • M Benvie
  • T Cook


Any complaint made about a member of the tribunal will be considered by the Chair of the tribunal. Complaints made about the Chair will be considered by the Chief District Court Judge (because the Chair of the tribunal is a District Court Judge).

Immigration and Protection Tribunal Protocol for Level 2


Entry into our premises by persons other than staff and members will be by appointment only. 


The Tribunal recognises that, as in Level 3, there may be continued instances of staff and members continuing to work remotely.  However, it is expected that there will be a greater presence of staff and members at Tribunal premises. 


New appeals, submissions and other information are to be submitted to the Tribunal by email or fax.  Hard copies should be posted or couriered. 


Participants at hearings will be required, on entering Tribunal premises, to complete a contact tracing register, which will include the provision of personal address and telephone number.  This is a mandatory requirement in the event that someone tests positive for COVID-19 and all contacts need to be traced.  Details provided will be keep secure and confidential and will be provided to the Ministry of Health only if required.  No other record of this information will be kept.  


Priority, as at level 3, will continue to be attached to the completion and release of decisions.  The emphasis will continue to be on the Tribunal bringing the appeals on hand to completion.


Hearings will recommence in the week of 11 May, and telephone conferences and hearing dates will be set though dialogue involving members, the staff, and counsel/ representatives or unrepresented parties. During the rest of May, there will be hearings of some of those appeals that were adjourned from late March, April and early May.  Hearings already scheduled for June will, in principle, remain in place.  From July onwards, hearings will comprise those that were earlier adjourned, in order of priority, failing which by date of lodgement.  Where appropriate, hearings may be conducted by VMR, and consideration will be given to splitting a one-day hearing into two consecutive half days. 


The above protocol will be reviewed when the Government decides to change to Level 1.

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