The NZBA is working hard to support its members while the country is dealing with Covid 19. We are liaising with the courts, the New Zealand Law Society and other professional bodies. See our news page for latest advisories. But most important of all, please stay in touch. Let us know how you're doing. Suggest ways that others can cope or help.
We have gathered a mix of help sheets and general information to help and will continue to add to it. The NZBA President has also a support page where you can read about developments and what we are doing.
Don't forget to look after your emotional well-being.
He waka eke noa - We are all in this together.
Protocols and Guidelines
Feb - March 2021
- Information about the operation of the courts during the various alert levels: Click here
- Supreme Court and Court of Appeal Remote Hearings Protocol: Click here
- High Court Remote Hearings Protocol: Click here
- Guide to using VMR: Click here
- Audio-visual facilities in courts: Click here
- Ministry of Justice Covid 19 Information page: Click here
South Auckland Courts: Alert Level 2
8 March 2021
Following the Prime Minister’s announcement on Friday that Auckland will move to Alert Level 2 from 6.00am (Sunday 7 March), the Chief Justice released a Media Statement setting out the court arrangements for the upcoming week.
Below are the arrangements that will be in place at South Auckland Courts from Monday 8 March, in line with the Chief Justice’s Media statement and the Chief District Court Judge’s Alert Level 2 Protocol.
Drop-in sessions via a Microsoft Teams Meeting will be available from 1.00pm-1.30pm tomorrow (Monday 8 March) and Tuesday 9 March if you need to drop-in with any questions or concerns about our transition into Alert Level 2 this week. The connection details for the drop-in sessions are at the bottom of this email update. Alternatively, you can email the court or any of the managers (see contact list).
Employment Court of New Zealand
Update from Judge Taumanunu
2 March 2020
The District Court has asked that practitioners who want adjournments request them as early as possible. This will be of great help to the Court with its timetabling. Counsel are asked to continue being proactive and to contact the Court if in doubt. As always, counsel are thanked for their patience in this extremely trying time for all.
Arrangements from 2 March 2021 - Update from Chief District Court Judge Taumaunu
Tēnā koutou Colleagues
UPDATE: MANUKAU DISTRCT COURT OPERATING AT ALERT LEVEL 3
Further to my letter that I sent to you this morning, I confirm that along with Judge Walker, Judge Goodwin and Judge Moses we met again with local and national representatives of the profession, and the National Manager of police prosecutions. The Chief Operating Officer for the Ministry of Justice and his relevant managers were also present.
Update - Courts at Level 3
1 March 2021
In aiming to keep you as up-to-date as possible, we would like to provide you with this update of the current arrangements.
The Level 3 Protocol in August set out that as an essential service, the District Court intends to undertake as much of its usual business as possible in the criminal jurisdiction.
While we expect things to look very similar to last time, please be prepared for any changes.
Family Court Information for Auckland
South Auckland Courts
1 March 2021
The South Auckland Courts have arranged a local solution to the current Alert Level 3. This reflects the District Court’s concern for the well-being of all users of the Court in that region.
We ask members to be patient as the Court triages lists and appearances throughout the day. As you are all aware, this is not a routine lockdown and some agility will be required. In other words, things may change during the day as we learn more. Manukau Court staff are working very hard to deal with this and will be in touch with counsel.
South Auckland Courts - March 2021
28 February 2021
South Auckland courts will reinstate the same Level 3 measures that were in place two weeks ago in line with the Chief District Court Judge’s Alert Level 3 Protocol. The Level 3 Protocol sets out that as an essential service, the District Court intends to undertake as much of its usual business as possible in the criminal, family and civil jurisdictions.
While the Court expects things to look very similar to last time, please be prepared for any changes.
The following arrangements apply to the South Auckland Courts:
South Auckland Court’s Schedule:
Per the Level 3 Protocol, the District Court intends to undertake as much of its usual business as possible in the criminal and civil jurisdiction this week.
Matters to be rescheduled under Alert Level 3 this week
- Jury Trials: Jury trials are suspended under Alert Level 3. However please note that jury trials scheduled for this week will be called through at the 9am callover tomorrow, in the usual way.
- Jury Pre-Trials: All jury pre-trials will be heard at Manukau during Alert Level 3
- Registrar’s Court: All work scheduled to be heard in the Registrar’s Court at Manukau will be administratively adjourned, with the exception of family violence matters where those defendants are already represented by counsel. Regarding any family violence matters (scheduled in the Registrar’s court), if a request for an adjournment is not received before it is scheduled to be called, the family violence matter will be called in the Judges’ List Court on the date and time scheduled. The Court Registry will be working to administratively adjourn all other matters scheduled for Registrar’s Court for the duration of Level 3.
- JP Court: There will be no JP Courts operating under Alert Level 3.
- All other matters that will be rescheduled to another date: On direction by the Judge
Courts and Covid 19 - Alert Levels March 2021
28 February 2021
From the Chief Justice
Following the announcement from the Prime Minister that Auckland is now at Alert Level 3 and the rest of the country is at Alert Level 2, the Chief Justice announced the reinstatement of the Alert Level 2 and 3 protocols for the courts throughout New Zealand. “These changes in Alert Level are a well- trodden path for the courts. We have safely and successfully operated under these circumstances before, and with everyone’s continued cooperation and support, we will do so again” the Chief Justice said.
For the Auckland High Court and Auckland and Manukau District Courts no new jury trials will start before Monday 8 March 2021.
Arrangements for Courts of New Zealand
23 February 2021
The Chief Justice has provided the following information.
On 22 February 2021 the Government announced that Auckland would move to join the rest of New Zealand at COVID-19 Alert Level 1 from 11.59 pm tonight.
This statement explains the approach the courts will take in Auckland from Tuesday 23 February 2021, and the arrangements that continue for the rest of the country.
Auckland High Court, Auckland District Court, Waitakere District Court, Manukau District Court and the North Shore District Court will move to COVID-19 Alert Level 1 from Tuesday 23 February. This will bring Auckland courts in line with the rest of the country. COVID-19 Alert Level 1 protocols will apply.
Alert Level 1
General safety arrangements
Whānau and other support people, and members of the public, are permitted to attend court at COVID-19 Alert Level 1 and do not need the permission of a judge to do this.
Everyone attending court is strongly encouraged to track where they have been, using the QR code or a personal record.
Wearing a mask and practising physical distancing continues to be encouraged.
Enhanced cleaning regimes will be maintained, and soap, towels, sanitiser and personal protective equipment will continue to be readily available.
The Chief Justice thanks the members of the public who have continued to serve as jurors in the High Court and District Court during the heightened alert levels.
Chief Justice | Te Tumu Whakawā
Employment Court Level 1 information
22 February 2021
Employment Court: COVID-19 Protocol Chief Judge Christina Inglis
This protocol replaces the protocol issued on 17 February 2021 and applies from midnight on Monday 22 February 2021 for all of New Zealand, at Alert Level 1.
Court arrangements from Thursday 18 February 2021
The Prime Minister announced that Auckland will move to Alert Level 2 and the rest of the country will move to Alert Level 1 from 11.59 pm Wednesday 17 February 2021.
This statement explains the approach the courts will take from Thursday 18 February.
Jury Trials to resume in Auckland
The Chief Justice announced that jury trials will resume in the Auckland High Court, Auckland District Court and Manukau District Court from Thursday 18 February, provided they can be accommodated safely in accordance with Alert Level 2 restrictions.
Update from South Auckland Courts: Level 2 measures from 18 February
From 11.59 pm on 17 February, South Auckland Courts will be transitioning to Level 2 measures that were in place last September in line with the Chief District Court Judge’s Alert Level 2 Protocol.
Employment Court: COVID-19 Protocol
17 February 2021
This protocol replaces the protocol issued on 15 February 2021 and applies from midnight on Wednesday 17 February 2021 for Auckland (Alert Level 2) and the rest of New Zealand (Alert Level 1).
Employment Relations Authority - Covid 19 Update
17 February 2021
This update sets out arrangements the Employment Relations Authority (the Authority) has made to deal with applications and investigations while Covid-19 Alert Level 2 and Level 3 restrictions are in place (the restrictions) and during transition from those restrictions. It replaces the last update issued by the Authority on 25 September 2020.
Employment Court Information
15 February 2021
The Employment Court continues to process all new and existing proceedings. It remains open to hear matters, as appropriate, including in Auckland.
The Judges are assessing proceedings which are set down in Auckland during the interim period and will convene telephone conferences as necessary to discuss next steps. Representatives should contact the Court Registrar (contact details in full details below) if they wish to raise any particular matters, including in relation to matters set down for hearing, or with other timetabling, in the week commencing 15 February 2021.
Updates from the
Employment Court can be found here
Update from South Auckland Courts: Arrangements for Alert Level 3 This Week
15 February 2021
Advice has been received from the South Auckland Courts re arrangements this week. South Auckland courts will re-activate its most recent Level 3 measures that were in place in August last year in line with the Chief District court Judge’s Alert Level 3 Protocol in place. The Level 3 Protocol in August set out that as an essential service, the District Court intends to undertake as much of its usual business as possible in the criminal, family and civil jurisdictions
While we expect things to look very similar to last time, please be prepared for any changes.
Courts and Covid 19 Alert Levels - 15 February 2021
On 14 February the Government announced that Auckland would move to Alert Level 3 from 11.59 pm on Sunday 14 February. The rest of New Zealand will move to Alert Level 2.
This statement explains the approach the courts will take in Auckland from 15 February 2021, and the arrangements that continue for the rest of the country.
MOJ Maintaining Health and Safety Advisory
13 January 2021
The MOJ Acting Chief Operating Officer has provided the attached advisory information which outlines the processes being undertaken to maintain health and safety of court participants.
Employment Court and Employment Relations Authority
21 September 2020
The Protocol from the Chief Employment Court Judge has been updated effective 23 September 2020. Read latest protocol here.
31 August 2020
Read the latest notice from Chief Judge Christina Inglis and click here to read the Employment Court's latest Level 2 protocol.
Update from the Court of Appeal
12 August 2020
The Court of Appeal/ Te Kōti Pīra o Aotearoa has provided counsel with an updated COVID practice note.
Counsel may elect to attend hearings either: in person, by AVL from a local Court or, by VMR from home or office. Please refer to the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal Remote Hearings Protocol (May 2020) and a guide on how to use VMR. Read More
Visiting Prisons under Alert Level 2
26 May 2020
The Department of Corrections has advised that while it is now possible for lawyers to visit their clients in person when requested, Corrections encourages lawyers to consider other options for engaging with their clients where practicable.
The measures put in place to support access during COVID-19 will continue. These include utilising the lawyer document email system to request video conferencing and phone calls with clients, and the use of Jabber to call into the VMR.
Oaths, Declarations and Wills
19 April 2020
The Government has made two orders under the Epidemic Preparedness Act 2006. The first modifies the Oaths and Declarations Act 1957 to enable an oath, an affirmation, or a declaration to be administered or taken using an audiovisual or audio link instead of in the presence of the person swearing the oath or making the affirmation or declaration. The second modifies requirements imposed by section 11 of the Wills Act 2007 requiring that a will be signed in the physical presence of 2 witnesses. They are both temporary and will be revoked when the Epidemic Preparedness (COVID-19) Notice 2020 expires or is revoked. Read more
Guidelines for District Court Practitioners during period of Epidemic Notice
High Court (COVID-19 Preparedness) Amendment Rules 2020
9 April 2020
The High Court (COVID-19 Preparedness) Amendment Rules 2020 came into effect on 9 April 2020 immediately upon their publication in the Gazette. These Rules help with the continuation of civil proceedings in the High Court during the outbreak of COVID-19. The new rules can be found on the legislation.govt..nz website. Read a summary of the rules here.
Working from Home - the tech stuff
Our tech gurus (aka Phillip Cornegé, Josh McBride and Felix Geiringer) have put together some information to help you through the process of transitioning to work from home.
They have suggested some hardware and software options and provided links to useful material.
They will be regularly updating this page and providing other advice.
At times like these you need...
We are all worried about finances. Our member benefits include significant savings on insurance*, the Lexis Nexis e-library package, Thomson Reuters deals and commercial benefits such as savings from Noel Leeming, Office Max, Guthrie Bowron, Bunnings.
There are two ways to access these savings but BOTH require you to login using your member id (which is the email address that we send your member updates to) and your password. You can access your savings via:
- Our Member benefit app
- The website member benefits section
Find out more from the Member Benefits page.
Notice from Office Max is that they remain open online. View notice here.
Are you okay?
If you are not experiencing some stress at this time, you must have nerves of steel or be meditating non-stop. The question is what degree of stress is too much and at what point you need to seek help. This is something we all have to watch and the most important thing you can do is say you need help or ask others if they are okay.
The New Zealand Law Society is offering a free and confidential professional counselling service through Vitae, one of New Zealand’s most experienced providers of workplace wellbeing services. This is available to anyone in a legal workplace – lawyers and non-lawyers. You can have counselling via phone or videolink as well as face to face.