Update from South Auckland Courts: Alert level 4 for 7 days
You will have seen the news from the Prime Minister that from 11.59pm tonight Auckland (and Coromandel) will be going into Alert Level 4 lockdown for 7 days (with the rest of Aotearoa New Zealand in Alert Level 4 lockdown for 3 days).
To help keep you all updated with South Auckland Courts’ Alert Level 4 plan, below are the measures we have planned for so far, effective from tomorrow (Wednesday 18 August). More information will follow as soon as we find out more details.
The following arrangements for South Auckland Courts are:
1. Court schedule for tomorrow (Wednesday 18 August): As we continue to plan what the Level 4 period will look like, below is the court schedule for Level 4 for tomorrow:
a. Manukau Court:
i. 2x Judges AVL Courts – custody matters only
ii. 1x Youth Court if required for priority youth court proceedings
b. Pukekohe Court: 1x Judge AVL Court – custody matters only
2. Priority Proceedings: Per the Level 4 Protocol (released in March-April last year), the District Court will continue to operate during Level 4 to deal with priority proceedings set out below. There is likely to be an updated Level 4 Protocol released by the Chief District Court Judge soon. However based on the current Level 4 Protocol, the following arrangements will be in place for the Level 4 period:
Criminal (see more information about criminal priority proceedings below)
a. Defendants who are in custody will appear by AVL before a Judge for all scheduled appearances during the Level 4 period at Manukau, Papakura and Pukekohe courts
b. For any defendant in custody scheduled to appear in person, the Registry will be working with the prison to convert their appearance to AVL.
c. Counsel are encouraged to appear by AVL (see information attached on how to appear by AVL)
d. Applications made under the Returning Offenders (Management and Information) Act 2015 are considered priority proceedings to be dealt with during Level 4.
e. All jury trials will be adjourned for 7-day Level 4 period.
f. All South Auckland arrests will be dealt with at Manukau.
g. All cases which are not priority proceedings, which includes non-custody matters, will be administratively adjourned.
h. Priority proceedings in the Youth Court that will continue to be dealt with are those affecting the liberty of children and young persons including bail applications, early release hearings, secure care applications, the extension of any remand under s238(1)(d) of the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989 and any consideration of an order under s283 which may result in the release of a child or young person from custody.
i. In any priority proceeding the Youth Court will operate by AVL only. For the avoidance of doubt, no child or young person will appear in court in person during Level 4.
j. All cases which are not priority proceedings will be administratively adjourned.
k. Priority proceedings include applications for Compulsory Treatment Orders, IDCCR, Protection Orders, Without Notice Interim Parenting Orders (COCA), Without Notice Custody Orders (Oranga Tamariki), Welfare Guardianship or Property Orders (PPPR).
l. Any other application considered by a Judge to warrant an urgent hearing.
m. Priority civil proceedings include injunction applications, Harmful Digital Communication applications, Restraining Order applications and Tenancy Tribunal Appeals considered by a Judge to warrant an urgent hearing.
3. Information about whether a case has been administratively adjourned: While we highly advise parties to call 0800 COURTS (0800 268 787), there is likely to be a delay for this information to get through to the call centre for matters scheduled for tomorrow. Registry staff will therefore prioritise contacting the parties tomorrow, and the days to come, to provide an update on each matter. While we acknowledge the impact of rescheduling matters at short notice, we do ask for your patience while we work through each of the scheduled matters during this time.
4. Courts will be closed to the public at all South Auckland Courts – Court Appearances by AVL encouraged
The Courts and the public counters will be closed to the public at all South Auckland Courts
All counsel, court participants and accredited media are encouraged to participate in priority proceedings by AVL. A Judge and Registrar will be in the courtroom but counsel are encouraged to appear by AVL whenever feasible. Please see attached guidelines which includes the VMR details for Manukau, Papakura and Pukekohe.
5. Additional hygiene measures
All court participants in the District Court will be required to wear face masks across all courts and in all areas, particularly indoors.
PPE and wipes continue to be available on request at the security station at the courts’ front entrances for counsel appearing in person. The courts will continue to be cleaned to the higher Alert Level 4 standards.
Please make sure that you look at the places of interest on the Ministry of Health website and follow the instructions on there, and please follow all the COVID guidelines to keep yourself and others safe. Remember that physical distancing is even more important because of the possibility of transmission.
6. South Auckland Managers – Contact List
Please find attached an updated contact list if you wish to get in contact with any of South Auckland managers.