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.
The key features of the local solution for South Auckland Courts are:
- Court staff will be contacting counsel as a matter of urgency as to whether counsel will be appearing in court or will be seeking an adjournment. The Court will also aim to provide other dates wherever possible. For those matters that need to proceed, all lawyers may attend by VMR. Where physical appearances are absolutely necessary on the part of the client (for example, for a bail application or variation when a client does not have access to VMR) court staff will arrange for appearances to be staggered. In those circumstances, while a client may attend in person, their counsel may still appear by VMR. Wherever possible, counsel may want to consider using consent memoranda to deal with bail variations.
- The Crown Solicitor’s office at Manukau has been approved to appear by VMR for the first part of this week. This is because they are in a building that is of interest in the current outbreak. They are, however, only considered to be casual contacts and do not need to self-isolate.
- If an appearance is essential, the court is working on staggering these.
- There are heightened restrictions at the door. Attendees will be excused at the door if an appearance is not necessary. There will also be monitoring to avoid queues.
- Duty solicitors will be available at court.
- The police advise that reporting conditions to police stations have been suspended for the next 7 days. Please communicate that to your clients if possible.
- The Court encourages counsel to get in touch if they have any questions as to whether their matter will be proceeding. Other measures have been put in place to support everyone working at the Court to remain safe.
Staff are working on contacting counsel and arranging VMR for lists. The MOJ system was down for a good part of yesterday and they are running a bit behind, but will be in touch. Again, the expectation is that there will be no counsel appearances unless it is essential.
Civil appearances will be by VMR. The court staff will triage these.
If you have concerns, please let us know and we will do our best to deal with these.