Each bench has internal judicial management and support committees. In areas of mutual interest, there are also inter-bench committees comprising members from different benches. Judges also serve on a number of external committees that may include Ministry of Justice and other government officials, and non-government members.
Heads of Bench meet quarterly and phone conferences are held monthly. Their meetings are an important forum for developing positions from which the judiciary engages with the Executive, particularly through the Courts Consultative Committee (CCC), on matters of principle affecting judicial function.
Heads of Bench consider strategic issues affecting the judiciary. Regular reports on security, information technology, and property are provided to Heads of Bench by the Ministry. The judicial committees also provide Heads of Bench with regular reports. Heads of Bench directly raise policy issues or issues of principle affecting the judiciary as a whole with the Executive.
The judicial committee structure can be expressed in diagram form as follows:
Legislation and Law Reform Committee
The role of the Legislation and Law Reform Committee is to identify issues of potential interest to the judiciary in relation to proposed legislation and other proposals for change to the law or the way in which the law is implemented. The Committee consists of a panel of judges with representation from each of the courts of general jurisdiction and as required representatives from the specialist jurisdictions.
Judicial Libraries Management Board
The Judicial Libraries Management Board (JLMB) is a strategic and advisory body responsible for overseeing and managing the development of information and library services. The board’s functions as established by its Memorandum of Understanding are:
- Determination of a strategic plan for the development of judicial information resources;
- Preparation of an annual plan outlining judicial library objectives and priorities for the financial year, including allocation of budgeted funds;
- Devising court library standards for the management, development and maintenance of judicial library and information resources;
- Monitoring implementation and reviewing compliance with policy;
- Establishing collection plans for chambers and court materials, and;
- Liaising and negotiating with the Ministry of Justice regarding financial and human resources required to implement agreed policies and guidelines.
The Institute of Judicial Studies
The principal functions of the institute are to assist in the professional development of judges, promote judicial excellence and to foster an awareness of judicial administration, developments in the law and social and community issues.
The institute was established through a Memorandum of Understanding between the judiciary and the Department for Courts in July 1998. In recognition of the importance of judicial independence with regard to judicial education, the Memorandum of Understanding records that ‘the institute will have autonomy in its affairs’.
The institute’s programmes for judges fall into three general categories. Some courses involve skills-training such as a judgment writing workshop and a settlement conference workshop. Other courses involve education on substantive law, usually in areas that have been subject to significant recent law reform. The third type of programme provides a broader context for judges to consider issues relating to the administration of justice as a whole. Such programmes include those on gender equity and judicial ethics.
The Director of the Institute of Judicial Studies is responsible for the day-to-day administration of the IJS and each bench has its own education committee. The Board of the IJS has overall responsibility for the direction of IJS. IJS has a
Standing Committee on Courthouse Design
The Standing Committee on Courthouse Design was formed in 1993. Its function is to define and refine design-standards for courthouses reflecting the part that courthouses play in the life of the community and the need for their importance to be reflected in their design and appearance. Consistency of design-practice nationwide is the paramount goal.
The committee brings together the judiciary, Law Society and administrators to set design standards. Its focus is on general standards relating to user requirements, layout and furniture and it encourages practical innovation. The committee provides support for architects and courthouse-user groups to help prevent 're-inventing the wheel', and provides information gleaned from designing other courthouses and overseas experience.
The Supreme Court Management Committee meets monthly and is attended by all judges and senior Ministry representatives. The committee routinely considers a Registrar’s report and an update report from the Ministry on projects affecting the court, such as security, accommodation, and information technology initiatives.
The Court of Appeal Management Committee is attended by the President and next senior Court of Appeal judge on a monthly basis, along with senior Ministry representatives. The meetings provide the opportunity for any judicial concerns or issues to be raised directly with the Senior Courts Group. Issues relating to judicial support can also be considered, along with issues relating to workflow and the registry.
The committee is chaired by the Chief High Court Judge and maintains an overview of all operational matters and other issues affecting the High Court. The committee meets quarterly with the Chief Justice and the list judges from the three principal High Court centres.
As the judiciary receive a number of requests each year for participation in various types of research a Judicial Research Committee has been set up to consider such requests. The Committee consists of Judges from the Court of Appeal, High Court and District Court. The Committee considers all requests for judicial involvement in research involving the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, High Court and District Court (including the Family Court and Youth Court) and makes a recommendation to the Chief Justice or Head of Bench. The Committee has prepared guidelines to assist those seeking judicial assistance with projects.
The Criminal Practice Committee was established at the request of the then Chief Justice, Sir Ronald Davison, in 1988 and held its first meeting in 1989. It brings together all those professionally involved in the criminal justice system at a senior level to progress matters of importance to the operation of the criminal justice system and to inform the Executive. Members include legal practitioners, Ministry of Justice policy and registry advisers, police, the New Zealand Law Commission, Crown Law, judges and Law Society representatives.
The Committee is required by to have 11 mandatory members: the Chief Justice; Chief High Court Judge; two other judges of the High Court appointed by the Chief Justice; the Chief District Court Judge; one other District Court judge appointed by the Chief Justice on the recommendation of the Chief District Court Judge; the Attorney-General; the Solicitor-General; the Chief Executive of the Ministry of Justice; and two barristers and solicitors nominated by the Council of the New Zealand Law Society and approved by the Chief Justice.
In addition the Chief Justice may appoint any other person to be a member for a special purpose. That person holds office during the pleasure of the Chief Justice.
The was formed in 2013 to assist the Rules Committee following the enactment of the . Following the enactment of the Criminal Procedure Rules 2012 and their first review, the subcommittee is currently in recess.