IMPORTANT: If you are unwell, do not attend court. Please call 0800 COURTS (0800 268 787) for further instruction.

Courts and tribunals continue to conduct as much of its usual business as it is safely able to in COVID-19 Alert Level 2.

If you have a scheduled date to appear in court, you will need to come to court, unless you are advised otherwise. If you are unsure when your matter is scheduled to be considered, please speak to your lawyer or contact 0800 Courts (0800 268 787).

Read the current court protocols on the Courts of New Zealand website.(external link)

 

COVID-19 Information - 22 May

This page was last updated on 22 May at 1.25pm

For help and advice about COVID-19, visit the New Zealand Government website:

NZ Government: Unite against COVID-19(external link)

Please find answers to some frequently asked questions below.

Court participants

Jury service

Family court

Justice services and programmes

Criminal court

Fines and payments

Court participants

Are courts open?

Yes, most courts are open.

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Are court counters open?

The majority of counters are open under COVID-19 Alert Level 2 for filing and general enquiries. Most sites will have plastic shields at counters to guard people against fluids. This means that participants can stand at the counter instead of 1-metre away to ensure a more private interaction.

Is access to courts still restricted in COVID-19 Alert Level 2?

For safety reasons, there will be limits on the number of people who can be in the court.

Priority will be given to those who are required to be there for business of the court. Identification for contact tracing may be required to gain entry to the court. Physical distancing of 1-metre must be maintained at all times.

In some court jurisdictions, complainants, supporters and members of the public may need advance permission to attend matters from the presiding judge. For more information, or to get permission to attend proceedings in person, please contact 0800 COURTS (0800 268 787).

What services are the courts providing in COVID-19 Alert Level 2?

Courts and tribunals will conduct as much of its usual business as it is safely able to in COVID-19 Alert Level 2.

Read more information about what the courts are doing on the Courts of New Zealand website.
(external link)

Should I still attend court? Will my hearing still go ahead?

IMPORTANT: If you are unwell, do not attend court or any other public place. Please call 0800 COURTS (0800 268 787) for further instruction.

If you have a scheduled date to appear in court, you will need to come to court, unless you are advised otherwise.

If you are unsure when your matter is scheduled to be considered, please speak to your lawyer or contact 0800 Courts (0800 268 787).

Can I reschedule my court event?

  • For information on requesting a new hearing date for court matters call 0800 COURTS (0800 268 787).
  • For information on requesting a new hearing date for fines or civil enforcement matters, call 0800 4 FINES (0800 434 637).

How do I file documents to court?

Filing by email
For District Court documents/applications, only those that can ordinarily be filed by email will be accepted electronically during COVID-19 Alert Level 2, or where the protocols allow it.

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Court protocols on the Courts of New Zealand website(external link)

For filing and serving documents in the Family Court, normal processes apply under COVID-19 Alert Level 2. Please see more information at:

Filing and serving documents in the Family Court

The High Court and Court of Appeal prefers that participants continue to file their documents by email during COVID-19 Alert Level 2, particularly if you believe your matter needs urgent attention.

Filing by post
You can file by post, even if the court is closed. There will likely be delay in the processing of your documents if you file by post.

If you choose to send documents by courier, confirm that the court is open and will have staff available to accept the package. The courier will need to follow the process on the Court signage and call the 0800 COURTS (0800 268 787) for assistance.

Filing in person
Counter services will be available at most courts during COVID-19 Alert Level 2 to receive documents for filing.

Additionally, some courts will have drop boxes available where participants can submit their documents.

Courts providing drop boxes will have signage explaining where the boxes are located.

How do I pay filing fees?

All filing fees for documents or applications submitted during COVID-19 Alert Level 2 are required.

More information will be provided on this shortly.

I need legal advice – how do I get it?

Lawyers are able to provide advice during COVID-19 Alert Level 2. They will do this to the extent possible while maintaining compliance with COVID-19 restrictions. Legal aid is still available. A list of legal aid lawyers can be found on our Ministry of Justice website:

Find a legal aid lawyer

You may be eligible for assistance from a Community Law Centre. You should phone them first, as a range of working practices are now in place across the country to comply with COVID-19 restrictions. You can find their contact details on the Community Law website.(external link)

I need help to complete my court form or application

If you need help completing court forms or applications, you'll need to seek legal advice. The Citizens Advice Bureau or a Community Law Centre are available to provide legal advice by phone or email.

Citizens Advice Bureau(external link)

Community Law(external link)

What is happening with my matter that was adjourned during COVID-19 Alert Level 3 or 4?

Cases that were administratively adjourned during COVID-19 Alert Level 3 and 4 will be reviewed and prioritised for rescheduling.

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Jury service

I have recently received a summons for jury service, do I still need to attend?

No - Please see information for jurors here:

Jury service

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Family court

I have a parenting order in place. How do I comply?

At COVID-19 Alert Level 2, parenting arrangements return to normal, while still following public health measures.

Household bubbles do not need to be maintained and you can reconnect with friends and family, in a safe way. There is no restriction on distance of travel. Travel in a safe way, following public health measures.

May I move my child to the other guardian’s home during COVID-19 Alert Level 2?

Yes, there are no restrictions on movement at COVID-19 Alert Level 2 for parenting arrangements. Simple precautions should be taken to protect the health of parents and children.

Children should stay in one home if they're feeling unwell, or if someone in their home is unwell or has been overseas in the last 14 days. This will protect the health of parents, caregivers and children.

Guidance for parents, caregivers, whanau and teachers(external link)

Guidance for managing shared custody during COVID-19 Alert Levels

How will my children and I be kept safe, during COVID-19 restrictions?

The government continues to take family violence and sexual violence very seriously. Violence is a crime at any time.

Family violence and sexual violence services are available, even if services need to be delivered in different ways.

More information on family violence and sexual violence is available here:

Family violence and sexual violence prevention(external link)

How do I apply for a family violence Protection Order?

During COVID-19 Alert Level 2, the normal processes for protection orders and parenting orders apply. Please see more information at:

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Justice services and programmes

What if I need a Justice of the Peace?

Some Justice of the Peace (JP) services are available during COVID-19 Alert Level 2. The availability of JPs will vary from location to location.  

More information can be found on the Justice of the Peace website.(external link)

I need a criminal record check - how long will this take to process?

The Criminal Records Unit continues to operate during COVID-19 Alert Level 2. 

The Criminal Records Unit phoneline will not be in service during this time. If you have a query please email: criminalrecord@justice.govt.nz.

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Criminal court

I have an active warrant to arrest. Can I make an unscheduled appearance (also known as a voluntary appearance) at court?

Yes. District Courts can now deal with unscheduled appearances during COVID-19 restrictions. Please call 0800 COURTS (0800 268 787) for further instructions.

Are court victim advisors available during COVID-19 Alert Level 2?

Yes. Court victim advisors are available. Please call 0800 COURTS for further assistance.

For more information on the support services available during COVID-19 restrictions, please see the Chief Victims Advisor's statement:

Chief Victims Advisor: Support available for victims during isolation

How can I make an application to change a bail condition (make a variation to bail application)?

You or your lawyer can download and complete the following form here:

Notice of application to vary bail conditions [PDF, 2.4 MB]

Once the application is completed, please send it to your local district court:

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When sending the email:

  • ensure subject title says: CRI No, participant’s name, application to vary bail
  • provide at least two methods of contact (e.g. home phone, cellphone, email) should the Court have questions or ring to advise of the outcome.

If you can’t access the form, or do not have a lawyer, please contact 0800 COURTS for further assistance.

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Fines and payments

I have fines I cannot pay. What should I do?

If your circumstances have changed and you can no longer meet a payment arrangement, please contact 0800 4 FINES.

If you want to check your fine balance or set up an arrangement to pay your fines, please contact 0800 4 FINES.

Regular updates will be posted to this page outlining our response as it develops. If you can’t find the information you need, please call 0800 COURTS (0800 268 787) in the first instance.

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