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

Current protocols for the Courts and Tribunals under the COVID-19 Protection Framework

Jury trials

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.

Other cases
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

Counter services
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. 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

Health and Safety
Entry to court buildings in Red areas is restricted in most courts.

More information about who can enter courts in your region is found in the court protocols.

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 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.


  • Jury service »

    Find out what jury service involves, what to do if you can’t go, what you get paid and what employers need to know.

  • Going to court »

    How to get legal aid or free community legal help, what to expect at court and information about representing yourself, filing and serving, court fees and hearing schedules.

  • Civil »

    Civil cases can include disputes over business contracts or debts, or disputes between neighbours, or debt recovery. You can also get a Restraining Order or Non-Contact Order.

  • Criminal »

    The majority of criminal cases go through the District Court. If it's a very serious crime the case could go to the High Court.

  • Youth »

    The Youth Court deals with criminal offending by children and young people that is too serious to be dealt with by the police in the community.

  • Family »

    The Family Court deals with matters like the care of children, divorce and orders to look after people and their property.

  • Coroners »

    Coroners look at when, where, how and why unexpected, violent or suspicious deaths happened, and if anything can be done to prevent similar deaths.

  • Employment »

    The Employment Court hears and determines cases relating to employment disputes.

  • Environment »

    The Environment Court largely deals with appeals about the contents of regional and district plans and appeals arising out of applications for resource consents.

  • Māori Land »

    The Māori Land Court is a judicial forum where people who own or have an interest in Māori land can interact about the current and future use, ownership, occupation and/or management of Māori land.

  • High Court »

    The High Court can hear criminal and civil cases, as well as appeals from lower courts or tribunals.

  • Court of Appeal »

    The Court of Appeal deals with appeals from cases heard in the High Court and serious criminal charges heard in District Courts.

  • Supreme Court »

    The Supreme Court is New Zealand's highest court and our final appeal court. The court hears appeals when they relate to the interests of justice.

  • Decisions »

    Some decisions are published by the judiciary from courts and tribunals. Not all decisions are published.

  • Information for lawyers & service providers »

    Resources for lawyers and service providers, including legal aid, Criminal Procedure Act, interpreters, JPs and restorative justice.

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