Last updated 22 December 2021
Amendments to the Rules of Court for the High Court, Court of Appeal, and Supreme Court to be Promulgated
At its November 2020 meeting, the Committee agreed to amendments to the rules of practice and procedure for the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal Civil Jurisdiction, and High Court. These will enter into force in 2022.
The following is for information only and is not to be relied on for any purpose, and should not be taken as reflecting the position of the judiciary. Practitioners and other court users should employ professional judgment, and seek legal advice where appropriate.
District Court Civil Jurisdiction
The District Court Rules 2014 were most recently amended by the District Court Amendment Rules 2021.
Most of the amendments came into force on 20 May 2021. These:
- allow the District Court to grant summary judgment on part of a claim (as is currently possible in the High Court);
- align the award of costs for case management on appeals to the District Court with the approach for ordinary proceedings; and
- enable comitttal warrants, community sentences, and fines to be imposed for breaches of enforceable undertakings (as is already possible for breaches of court orders).
From 1 April 2022, the amendments will also require that documents filed in District Court civil proceedings include the registry name in both English and te reo Māori on the intituling page. The long lead-in time for this amendment coming into force will allow the Ministry of Justice an opportunity to update the various forms it is responsible for maintaining.
High Court Civil Jurisdiction
The High Court Rules 2016 will be amended by the High Court Amendment Rules 2022.
When they come into force, these rules will:
- provide a new definition of emergency for the purpose of the High Court Rules;
- outline the jurisdiction and powers of a Judge or Associate Judge to strike out abusive interlocutory applications before service;
- replace the requirements for parties to complete certain steps from a time period within which the steps must be completed before the first case management conference with a requirement to complete the steps before the parties file the joint memorandum or separate memoranda under rule 7.3; and
- provide the circumstances in which an applicant or appellant must name the decision-maker as a respondent to their appeal, and provide that the court may direct the extent to which the decision-maker must participate (see also C 32 of 2020, a memorandum from the Chair on this subject).
Court of Appeal Civil Jurisdiction
The Court of Appeal (Civil) Rules 2005 will be amended from 2022 by the Court of Appeal (Civil) Amendment Rules 2022.
The amendments will make a number of minor and technical changes, including to:
- provide for the Court or Registry to be closed because of an emergency, and clarify the Court’s hours and holidays;
- clarify the procedure regarding electronic filing;
- set out the Court’s power to strike out or stay an application for leave to appeal and outline the documents that must accompany the filing of a notice of appeal;
- amend rules and forms to point to fees payable, and the ability to apply for a waiver of fees under the Court of Appeal Fees Regulations 2001;
- broaden the Registrar’s powers to reject a document for filing on the basis of lack of jurisdiction;
- set out the consequences of not paying security for costs or prescribed fees on time and clarify the circumstances when an appellant is not treated as having defaulted;
- clarify that a Registrar may not allocate a hearing date until the appellant has paid all prescribed fees and security for costs, unless waived or dispensed with, or unless a Judge directs otherwise; and
- clarify that the Court may order costs in respect of interlocutory applications.
The Supreme Court Amendment Rules 2004 will be amended from 2022 by the Supreme Court Amendment Rules 2022.
These amendments will make a number of minor and technical changes to:
- correct the Court’s te reo Māori name; and
- prescribe the number of documents that must be filed under various rules, and that documents filed under certain rules be filed electronically.
Representative Proceedings Workstream Paused
After the Supreme Court's final disposition of the appeal in Southern Response Ltd v Ross  NZSC 126, the Committee reactivated its workstream related to codifying within the High Court Rules the common law relating to commencing and defending a representative proceeding.
At its June 2021 meeting the Committee decided to put this codification project on hold pending the result of the Law Commission's work on Class Actions and Litigation Funding, which may result in the introduction of a statutory regime covering the same ground as the Committee’s draft rules. A representative from the Law Commission will be attending the Committee’s 27 June 2022 meeting to report on the progress of the project. At that meeting, the Committee will evaluate what amendments, if any, to promote in response to the law Commission’s work.
Reform of the Costs Regime: Costs for Self-Represented Litigants
The Committee is currently inviting submissions in response to its second consultation paper outlining the Committee’s preliminary views and inviting further input into proposed reforms to the costs rules relating to self-represented litigants and in-house lawyers.
Please see the project page for further information, and a copy of the initial consultation paper.
Work Continues on Improving Access to Civil Justice
Submissions to the Committee’s second round of consultation on Access to Civil Justice closed on 2 July 2021. Fifty-eight submissions were received from the public. The Committee outlined a work programme for its review of these submissions at its November 2021 meeting. Subcommittees dedicated to the submissions relating to the High Court, District Court and Disputes Tribunal will be reviewing the submissions in detail at the beginning of 2022. The Committee will meet to discuss the submissions and formulate its response on 28 March 2022.