Public Access to Christchurch Law Courts - Between 24 August to 27 August

Between Monday 24 August - Thursday 27 August 2020, public access to the Christchurch Law Courts will be limited to only those who need to be there for court business and their support people. The public counters will be closed during this time, which means the process for filing documents or paying fines will be different.

If you do need to enter the courts for court business, please come to the Tuam Street entrance. Please allow extra time. You’ll be screened by court staff on entry as per usual court protocol.

Please note that entrances to the courts on Tuam and Lichfield Streets will be busy during this time. There’ll also be an increased security presence.   

COVID-19 Alert Level 2 measures will also be in place in line with Ministry of Health guidelines, for example physical distancing and contact tracing.

Further information on what the courts are doing during COVID-19 Alert Levels.(external link)

Is the R v Tarrant sentencing open to the public to attend?

The Judge has confirmed how the RvT sentencing hearing will take place under COVID-19 Alert Level 2 in a minute.

The minute notes that there is very limited seating (up to 12 seats) reserved for members of the public to view the hearing. This is to prioritise seating for victims and their support people. The seats for the public will be in an overflow courtroom, not the main courtroom. The minute also notes that members of the public require the permission of the Court to attend hearings during COVID-19 Alert Level 2.

On entry into the courts, you’ll be screened by court staff as per usual protocol. The court has also noted you will also need to provide appropriate identification details to facilitate the management of numbers and contact tracing

Minute - How the RvT sentencing hearing will take place under COVID-19 Alert Level 2.(external link)

What other court business is/isn’t taking place during the RvT sentencing hearing?

Priority proceedings and some other courts and tribunals will still take place, including:

  • Christchurch District Court (criminal arrests and limited list matters)
  • Urgent Youth Court matters (arrests)
  • Mental Health hearings will be held offsite as usual
  • Canterbury Earthquakes Insurance Tribunal
  • Disputes Tribunal and Tenancy Tribunal telephone hearings

There are no hearings scheduled in the Family Court, High Court, Employment Court, Environment Court, Rangatahi Court or Māori Land Court.

The Māori Land Court is hosting clinics at Tūranga (Christchurch City Library) each day between Monday – Thursday from 10am – 2pm. This is only for queries or applications relating to the Māori Land Court.

How do I file documents to the court?

You’ll still be able to file your court documents for all courts and jurisdictions electronically (online or email) or by post during this time.

Contact information for the Christchurch courts.

You can also contact 0800 COURTS (0800 268 787).

All completed Family Court Without Notice applications can also be emailed directly to

If you can’t file your court documents via email or by post, a drop box will be available at the Tuam Street entrance for you to file these in person.

There won’t be a staff member available to go through the documents when you file them during this time, so please make sure they’ve been filled out clearly and in full. Please also ensure you include your contact details, so we can get in touch if we need more information from you.

How do people pay fines at the court?

People can still pay their fine online during this time, but won’t be able to pay fines in person at the Christchurch Law Courts.

I have fines I can’t pay, what should I do? 

Please contact 0800 4 FINES if:

  • your circumstances have changed, and they can no longer meet a payment arrangement or,
  • you want to check their fine balance or set up an arrangement to pay your fines.

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