The Environment Court hears appeals against the contents of regional and district plans, policy statements and appeals against applications for resource consent.
The court also hears enforcement proceedings, applications for declarations and appeals concerning designations, heritage orders and other miscellaneous matters.
Judges are based in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch and travel to other locations throughout the country to hear cases. Environment Judges may sit alone to hear some cases. However, with appeals regarding plans and resource consent, the court can be made up of one Environment Judge and up to three environment commissioners.
Offices for the three Environment Court districts are located in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.
The Environment Court is constituted by the Resource Management Act 1991. Hearings of the Environment Court are usually held in public, involve public interest questions and are often less formal than other courts.
Sentencing under the RMA is conducted in the criminal jurisdiction of the District Court.
The Environment Court has a set of media guidelines that draw on the guidelines in the Court of Appeal, High Court and District Courts, but with modifications appropriate to its jurisdiction (see Appendix D).
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