Rules and resources
There may be times in a case when restrictions apply to what information can be made public in order to protect the interests of justice and the integrity of the trial process.
Suppressions either automatically apply under a statute, or are ordered by a Judge. A suppression order could apply to information which is relevant to a defendant, a witness, a victim, or someone else associated with the case. It could be an existing order of the court, an order of a lower court, or an order made in the course of delivering a judgment. It could be an interim suppression (details suppressed while a judge considers a suppression application), a permanent suppression, or an order that stands until the matter is disposed by the courts.
It is misleading to suggest that a judge has prohibited publication of details that are protected by statutory prohibition. It is Parliament’s direction that these details are automatically and absolutely suppressed.
Under the Criminal Procecure Act 2011, media, and hosts or publishers of online information, have the right to tell the Court about their views about suppression orders in particular cases (ss 210, 199B, 199D).
Media also have the right to appeal a Court's decision on an order and to apply for a suppression order.
It is the responsibility of anyone publishing information about a trial to be informed of and observe these prohibitions. If unsure, check with the appropriate court registry, with reference to the daily lists and upcoming cases if necessary.
You can be penalised if you break a suppression order. Encourage your media organisation to seek legal advice if there is any doubt about what can and cannot be published.
The Courts have published guides about procedure and information, including on provisions that prohibit the publication of certain information in certain circumstances. These are intended as guides only and exceptions may apply.
'Press bench' signs are used in courtrooms to designate a media-only space. The term 'press bench' encompasses all media and can include a single chair and table, part of a shared bench, or a designated bench with several chairs.
Some courts are able to allocate a permanent press bench space, while other courts manage designated press bench space on a day-by-day, case-by-case basis.
Where there are more media than can be accommodated at the press bench, it is important to let court staff know so that they can find you alternative seating within the courtroom. The presiding judge will be notified accordingly.
For general enquiries relating to the Senior Courts (Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, and High Court) and the Courts of New Zealand website, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For specific media enquiries, please contact:
Cate Honoré Brett
Chief Advisor, Judicial Development and Communications