UPDATE 23 January 2022: New Zealand’s COVID-19 Protection Framework ('traffic light system') is now in place. Courts have implemented transitional protocols that guide court operations under the Red and Orange settings of the Framework. These came into effect on 6 December 2021 and remain in force until 31 January 2022.
From 11.59pm on Sunday 23 January 2022, ALL of Aotearoa New Zealand moves to the Red setting.
Courts remain an essential service throughout all COVID-19 restrictions, but may operate differently.
The Chief Justice’s statement about Courts operations under the COVID-19 Protection Framework(external link)
No new jury trials will begin in the District Court until 31 January 2022.
No new jury trials will begin in the High Court until 8 February 2022.
If you have received a jury service summons, you can check if you need to attend jury service on our website at: Check if you need to attend jury service.
In Red areas, District Court matters considered 'priority proceedings' will be conducted remotely where possible in the Criminal, Family, Youth and Civil jurisdictions. Some additional matters that are not ‘priority proceedings’ may also be conducted if it is safe to do so; participants for these matters will be contacted by the relevant court registry to confirm. High Court business will also be conducted remotely where possible. Call 0800 COURTS (0800 268 787) or contact the registry directly at Contact us if you have questions about a specific case and whether it is a ‘priority proceeding’.
Many Specialist Courts and Tribunals have implemented their own operating protocols: Courts of New Zealand - Courts and Tribunals protocols(external link)
Public court counters are closed in all District Court and Tribunal sites in Red areas.
In the sole High Court registries (Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch), public counters are open at all Traffic Light colours (including Red). In combined High Court/District Court registries, public counter services are subject to local arrangements.
Court documents and applications can be filed, with online payments, using File & Pay(external link). Drop boxes are also available at entrances. Alternative methods of filing will be accepted as per judicial protocols.
Do not come to the courthouse if you are feeling unwell. Contact 0800 COURTS (0800 268 787) if you cannot enter the courthouse or are not sure whether to attend. Find contact details for a court or tribunal.
For more information for court users, see: Information for all court and tribunal users.
Please refer to the Courts of NZ website for further updates and specific court protocols: Courts of New Zealand - Courts and Tribunals protocols(external link)
We are following Ministry of Health guidelines to protect the health and safety of all court participants and staff. If you are visiting a court or tribunal, please wear a face mask, wash/sanitise your hands, and maintain physical distancing.
Everyone entering the court is required to sign in. Court participants are strongly encouraged to download the NZ COVID Tracer app(external link) and use mobile devices to scan the COVID-19 QR code at the main entrance of a courthouse, or use the manual contact tracing register.
The COVID Healthline at 0800 358 5453 is also available for 24/7 advice and information about COVID-19.
Protocols for how specific courts will operate during COVID-19 Alert Levels are on the Courts of New Zealand website(external link).
People who are currently held in managed isolation or quarantine and wish to access the District Court in person need to apply for permission from a judge.
You can find the protocols for how tribunals will operate during COVID-19 alert levels on the specific tribunal pages.
Lawyers and Community Law Centres can provide legal advice during COVID-19 restrictions while observing public health measures. Visit Legal Aid Lawyers and New Zealand Law Society to find a list of lawyers.
The decision about whether parties must appear in person or not is made by the presiding judge.
Further questions? Call 0800 COURTS
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