What's new

4 May 2020: Note we are currently experiencing problems with the website. Contact Clerk to the Committee, Sebastian Hartley, for copies of  documents in case these cannot be accessed below. We apologise for any inconvencience.


Last revised 27 April 2020

Submission deadline extended for access to civil justice consultation

Submissions are now due at 5:00 pm on 1 September 2020. This has been extended from 1 May 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions.

High Court (COVID-19 Preparedness) Amendment Rules 2020 now in effect

The High Court Rules 2016 have been amended to ensure that civil justice remains accessible during the COVID-19 outbreak. The Committee has worked with the Ministry of Justice, the profession, and the judiciary to achieve this, and have produced a summary of key provisions.

Minutes of 23 September 2019 meeting

The minutes of the 23 September 2019 meeting can be found, together with the minutes of previous meetings, under "Committee Minutes".

Improving access to civil justice

The Committee has initiated a significant work programme examining how access to civil justice in the District and High Courts might be better ensured through reforms to the rules of court. This is an ongoing area of work concerning a number of initiatives. 

The Committee is currently consulting with the public and profession on this issue. Submissions are due on 1 September 2020. The consultation paper is available on the project page.

Any person interested in obtaining more information should consult the minutes from previous meetings under "Committee Minutes".

Costs for lay-litigants

Following the Supreme Court's decision in McGuire v Secretary for Justice [2018] NZSC 116, the Committee is considering whether to promote rules reform abrogating the "primary rule" preventing litigants in person and, if so, what alternative measures should be introduced. 

Alternatively, the Committee is considering whether the exceptions to that rule, allowing costs recovery by lawyers appearing in person, should be abrogated.

The Committee intends to begin consulting with the public and profession on this matter in late 2019 or early 2020.

Representative proceedings (suspended)

The Rules Committee has completed consideration of the responses it has received to the consultation on representative proceedings, which concluded on 16 November 2018. A copy of the consultation paper can be found here.

The Committee's focus is on crafting rules that clarify and formalise the procedure for commencing and defending a representative proceeding.  With the Law Commission having reactivated its work in this area in May 2019, the Committee has avoided adopting any reforms that could be considered to change the law or policy governing representative proceedings.

Draft amendment rules have been agreed in principle by the Committee.  

Work on this area has been suspended following the Court of Appeal's decision in Ross v Southern Response [2019] NZCA 431, which significantly amended the common law position regarding representative proceedings. Because the Committee has determined not to change the law governing such proceedings, the Committee has suspended work in this area pending the final disposition of any appeal from that decision.  The Committee will then review the present draft rules to ensure they align with the decision in Ross.

Time allocations and daily recovery rates

The Committee completed consideration of the responses it received to its consultation on time allocations and daily recovery rates in March 2019. Based on final changes made at the Committee's meeting of 18 March 2019, the High Court Amendment Rules 2019 were approved in June 2019, and came into effect on 1 August 2019. The Amendment Rules amended schedules 2 and 3 to the High Court Rules 2016 in order to amend the costs regime, and made a number of other changes to the High Court Rules.