Chief Justice Media Statement - Jury Trials for the Week Beginning 31 August
27 August 2020
The Prime Minister has announced Auckland will move to Alert Level 2 from 11:59 pm on Sunday 30 August 2020, with additional limits for at least a week. The rest of the country remains at Alert Level 2.
This statement explains what this means for jury trials in Auckland and the rest of the country from 31 August.
The Chief Justice has confirmed jury trials scheduled to start in the week of 31 August in the Auckland District Court and Manukau District Court will not proceed. Jurors summoned to attend at these courts for that week are excused attendance. No jury trials are scheduled for the Auckland High Court next week.
The Chief Justice has re-confirmed that all trials scheduled to be heard in the rest of the country will continue as scheduled. Jurors summoned to attend or who are currently serving on trials outside Auckland are requested to attend as per their summons document or any instruction from court registry staff.
The decision not to proceed with jury trials in the Auckland region in the week of 31 August 2020 has been made in consultation with Heads of Bench, the Secretary for Justice and leaders of the Auckland legal profession.
A week’s delay in the commencement of Auckland jury trials will allow counsel, who are only able to return to their offices on Monday, to better prepare for trial. The judiciary is also aware of anxiety regarding community transmission in the Auckland area. Given the very particular nature of jury service, it is appropriate to take a cautious approach and defer the commencement of jury trials as set out above.
The Chief Justice stated the decision whether to recommence jury trials in the Auckland District Court, Manukau District Court and Auckland High Court from Monday 7 September 2020 will be taken on Thursday 3 September 2020.
The COVID-19 Public Health Response (Alert Levels 3 and 2) Order (No 2) 2020 in force at the date of this release allows jury service to continue under Alert Level 2. Courts in the Auckland region are in a position to conduct jury trials in accordance with the Auckland Alert Level 2 restrictions and applying hygiene and social distancing protective measures. However because of the very particular nature of jury service, it has been decided to take a cautious approach in the Auckland region.
The Ministry of Justice’s health and safety arrangements for Alert Level 2 can be found at MoJ Health and Safety at Alert Level 2. Alert Level 2 physical distancing arrangements are in place throughout all courthouses. Supplies of masks, gloves and hand sanitiser are available for all participants at court.
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