Consultation and Discussion Papers
Last updated 21 September 2021
Feedback from the public and the legal profession is an important part of ensuring that the Rules are working well. Readers are invited to offer comments on the Rules and the practices relating to the Rules, and suggestions for substantive change, even when there are no ongoing consultation projects.
To contact the Rules Committee please email RulesCommittee@justice.govt.nz
Further Consultation on Costs for Self-represented Litigants
The Committee has released a consultation paper on proposed amendments to the costs regime following the decision in McGuire v Secretary for Justice  NZSC 116, and the Committee's initial consultation on this topic in 2020. If adopted, the proposed amendments would remove the prohibition on self-represented litigants receiving an award of costs. The amendments would also provide that lawyers appearing as self-represented lawyers are to be treated for costs purposes like other self-represented litigants.
It is also necessary, as part of making reforms in this area, to consider the position of parties represented by in-house counsel, as they are tehnically self-represented. The Committee has not yet arrived at a firm view on this subject, and is very interested in receiving further submissions on this issue.
Further details are available on the project page.
General suggestions welcome
Feedback on the Rules and practices relating to the Rules is always welcome. Please the Clerk to the Committee at RulesCommittee@justice.govt.nz with any suggestions for reform. Suggestions are triaged by the Committee Chair and then referred to the full Committee for discussion at the first available opportunity.
Selected Previous Consultations
The Rules Committee has actively consulted the profession and public on a range of issues in the past. Below are collated consultation papers published, and information about reform projects undertaken, during the previous decade.
Improving Access to Civil Justice
The Committee is currently considering public submissions on its second consultation paper proposing reforms of the procedure, jurisdiction, practices, and governance of the Disputes Tribunal, District Court, and High Court in order to help improve New Zealanders' access to civil justice.
Further details are available on the project page.
Initial Consultation on Costs for Self-Represented Litigants
In 2020, the Committee consulted with members of the legal profession and public on revisiting the availability of costs for lay litigants, and the exceptions to the current prohibition on the award of costs to those litigants, following the decision in McGuire v Secretary for Justice  NZSC 116, in early 2020. Further information, and the consultation paper, are available on the project page.
The Committee will soon be engaging in further consultation on this issue, beginning in the third quarter of 2021.
Electronic filing in the High Court
A discussion document (internal to the Ministry for Justice) regarding operational considerations relevant to the extension of electronic filing in the High Court was circulated in September 2019. This consultation process was affected by disruptions associated with the outbreak of COVID-19, and was not completed until September 2020. The feedback received from the Ministry of Justice will form part of the Committee's further deicsion-making on this issue.
The Committee sought feedback on a proposed set of rules to clarify and formalise the procedure for commencing and defending a representative proceeding. The Committee is now considering the feedback it has received in response to its proposal.
The consultation paper is available here.
The ability to strike out statements of claim before service
The Committee sought feedback on a proposed new rule to specify a procedure for a statement of claim which appears to be frivolous, vexatious or an abuse of process to be referred to a Judge for consideration before it is served on the other party.
A consultation paper about the proposed rule is available here.
New rules 5.35A to 5.35C of the High Court Rules 2016 were enacted on 1 September 2017.
Criminal Procedure Amendment Rules
The Rules Committee sought submissions on proposed amendments to the Criminal Procedure Rules 2012. The proposed changes, for the most part, simply reflect existing practice. The amendments also convert the current Sentencing Practice Note into rules.
The Criminal Procedure Amendment Rules 2016 came into force on 15 August 2016.
A short consultation paper about the amendments are available here.
Access to Court Documents
In 2017 the Rules Committee enacted new rules for accessing court documents in the District Court and in the Senior Courts. The former is now governed by the District Court (Access to Court Documents) Rules 2017, the latter is now governed by the Senior Courts (Access to Court Documents) Rules 2017.
The new rules are intended to simplify the procedure for seeking access to court documents and to provide more specific guidance as to the different weight to be given to factors when assessing requests by the public to access court documents depending upon the stage of the proceedings.
A period of consultation was undertaken in May and June 2015. The consultation document is available here.
Without Notice Applications
The Rules Committee has undertaken consultation on proposed amendments to the rule governing applications without notice. The changes are intended to provide more guidance as to the circumstances in which an application without notice should be made and the substantive requirements for making the applications.
The consultation document is available here.
Reform of the District Court Rules 2009
The District Court Rules 2014 have been finalised and have been made by the Governor-General by Order in Council. The Rules will come into force on 1 July 2014.
These Rules were the result of two consultation periods. Following an initial consultation on the District Court Rules 2009, the District Court Rules sub-committee of the Rules Committee sought feedback from interested parties on the proposed draft District Court Rules 2013. As part of the consultation process, meetings were held at various main centres around the country to discuss the proposed draft District Court Rules.
The relevant consulation paper and draft rules are:
Deadlines for submissions on the draft District Court Rules closed on 30 January 2014. A copy of the submissions can be found here.
This followed on from an earlier consultation in 2012. The following documents formed part of the consultation process on the amendment rules:
- Consultation paper on District Courts Rules 2009 reform
- Draft District Court (General) Amendment Rules v 2.18
Electronic Bundle Protocol
The Rules Committee has developed an electronic bundle protocol. This protocol provides an optional framework for the creation of an electronic case bundle that can be used by judges and counsel to manage litigation documents during trial. The bundle includes those documents in the common bundle as well as pleadings and possibly briefs and key relevant authorities. A copy of the draft protocol can be accessed by clicking here .
The electronic bundle protocol was released as a practice note. It can be found here.
Criminal Procedure Rules
On 20 February 2012 the Rules Committee issued a paper on the draft Criminal Procedure Rules.
- Consultation paper on the Criminal Procedure Rules
- Draft Criminal Procedure Rules sent out for consultation 2012
For further information on the current Criminal Procedure Rules see the Criminal Rules Sub-Committee page.
Case Management and Default Judgment/Formal Proof Reforms
After a long period of consultation, the High Court Amendment Rules (No 2) 2012 have been made and the changes to the case management and default judgment rules will come into effect on 4 February 2013. Please check the New Zealand legislation website (www.legislation.govt.nz), where the new rules have been uploaded.
Please refer to the previous papers and draft rules issued by the Committee:
- Consultation paper on case management reforms
- Draft High Court Amendment Rules 2012, v 1.9
- Consultation paper on proposed default judgement and formal proof reforms
- Rules in other jurisdictions
- Draft High Court Amendment Rules 2012 (v 2.2)
Time Allocations and Daily Recovery Rates
In July 2011 the Committee issued a consultation paper on its proposed reforms to the time allocations rules contained within Schedule 3 of the High Court Rules, as well as its regular review of the appropriate daily recovery rates provided for in Schedules 2 of the High Court Rules and District Court Rules. Please refer to the following consultation paper: Consultation paper on time allocations and daily recovery rates
Four submissions were received from the Profession and were reviewed at the Committee's meetings in October and December 2011. Revisions to the draft Schedules were presented at the meeting on 13 February 2012 and were passed by an Order in Council on 14 May 2012. Please go to: http://www.legislation.govt.nz/regulation/public/2012/0093/latest/DLM4448201.html
The changes to the two schedules are being kept under review and the Committee welcomes practitioner comment.
Discovery and Electronic Discovery
In 2011 the Rules Committee's reform of the High Court Rules on discovery ended with new draft rules on Discovery being tabled at the 22 August 2011 meeting and approved by the full Committee. These rules were the result of a substantive consultation process with the Profession. These new discovery rules have now been passed and came into force on 1 February 2012. They can be viewed on the New Zealand Legislation website .
Please refer to the following documents:
- Comments paper 13 July 2011
- Draft rules on discovery (v 1.18)
- Consultation paper 13 December 2010
- Draft rules on discovery accompanying 2010 consultation
- Sample list of documents accompanying 2010 consultation
- Sample joint memorandum for case management conference accompanying 2010 consultation
In July 2011, the Rules Committee sought comment and feedback from the profession on introducing rules to govern the issue of company representation in court proceedings. Feedback was sought by 3 August 2011.
Please refer to the following consultation documents:
Any submissions to consultation papers should be directed to the Clerk to the Committee at RulesCommittee@justice.govt.nz or posted to the following address:
Wellington High Court
2 Molesworth Street, Pipitea,
In the interests of increasing communication and transparency, the Rules Committee may publish on this website submissions and comments received as part of the consultation process.