UPDATE 13 October 2021: The Auckland and Northland regions and some areas of Waikato, including Hamilton City, are at COVID-19 Alert Level 3. The remainder of New Zealand is at COVID-19 Alert Level 2.
Courts remain an essential service throughout all COVID-19 alert levels but are operating differently.
The Chief Justice has announced that ALL Waikato and Northland courts will operate under Alert Level 3 protocols at least until the Alert Level is next reviewed.
Chief Justice media statement 10 October 2021 [PDF, 501 KB]
See latest court protocols on the Courts of NZ website:
Current COVID-19 court protocols(external link)
Jury trials at Alert Level 3
In the Auckland region, no new jury trials will begin in the High Court or District Court until at least November 2021. Jury trials that were underway prior to Alert Level 4 will remain adjourned (put on hold).
No new jury trials will begin during Alert Level 3 in the Whangarei, Kaikohe or Hamilton High / District Courts. Ministry of Justice staff are contacting court participants to advise them.
Jurors who are summoned to attend the Whangarei, Kaikohe or Hamilton High / District Courts during the Alert Level 3 period do not need to attend. Further advice will be provided after the alert levels are next reviewed.
Jury trials at Alert Level 2
For the rest of New Zealand, jury trials re-commenced in the District Court from 8 September 2021. However, judges will decide on a case-by-case basis whether each trial can proceed, taking into account the case's individual circumstances. Scheduled High Court jury trials re-commenced from 20 September 2021.
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 the Auckland, Northland and Waikato regions, District Court matters considered 'priority proceedings' will be conducted remotely where possible in the Criminal, Family, Youth and Civil jurisdictions. 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’.
For the rest of New Zealand, courts will progressively increase their workload as local conditions and capacity allow, in line with the updated Alert Level 2 protocols (see link below).
Court counters are closed during Alert Level 3. In Auckland, Northland and Waikato courts operating under Alert Level 3 protocols, you can file court documents and applications and make payments online, using File & Pay(external link). Alternative methods of filing will be accepted as per judicial protocols.
For the rest of New Zealand, court counters are open as normal in all courts under Alert Level 2, with appropriate health and safety measures in place.
Please 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.
Health and Safety
We are following Ministry of Health guidelines to protect the health and safety of all court participants and staff.
Entry to court buildings is restricted during heightened alert levels. For those permitted in court buildings, please wear a mask, wash/sanitise your hands, and maintain social 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.
Follow the link at the top of this page to court protocols for information applicable to your region.
There is more information in our health and safety factsheets available from the top of our COVID-19 hub page.
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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