Supreme Court Submissions Practice Note

24 November 2021

The Chief Justice and the Judges of the Supreme Court of New Zealand | Te Kōti Mana Nui o Aotearoa issue the following Practice Note:

1.  Title

This Practice Note is the Supreme Court Submissions Practice Note 2021.

2.  Commencement date

This Practice Note comes into effect on 1 February 2022 but will not apply in relation to any appeal if the submissions of any party to the appeal were filed prior to 1 February 2022.

3.  Publication

The Court intends to adopt a practice of publishing online (on courtsofnz.govt.nz) copies of the written submissions, chronologies and outlines of argument submitted by counsel or litigants in person for appeal hearings.[1]

4.  Pilot

This practice will be a trial, which will be reviewed in light of experience during 2022.

5.  Application

Subject to paragraph 2 above, the practice will apply to submissions, chronologies and outlines of argument filed after 1 February 2022 for any appeal hearing unless the exception set out in paragraph 9 below applies or the Court directs otherwise. 

6.  Date of publication

Submissions and chronologies will be published one working day before the hearing.  Outlines will be published shortly after they are received.

7.  Requirements for submissions

To facilitate the practice, the following requirements apply to submissions:

(1)       the submission must not include any suppressed information;

(2)       the submission must have a certification from counsel or a litigant in person that it is suitable for publication (that is, it does not contain any information that is suppressed);

(3)       a supplementary submission that will not be published may be filed with the submission, where there is confidential or sensitive information that is not suitable for publication that counsel would have included in the submission if it were not to be published.  Alternatively, two versions of the submission may be filed, one containing all information including suppressed, confidential and sensitive information and one in which such information is redacted.  The certification referred to above will apply to the redacted version.

8.  Chronologies and outlines

The same requirements, with any necessary modifications, will apply to chronologies and outlines of oral argument.

9.  Exceptions

The practice will not apply to pretrial criminal appeals, where details of the case are likely to be suppressed pending trial unless the Court directs otherwise.  If this exception applies, submissions, chronologies (if any) and outlines of oral argument will be published when the judgment is published (normally after disposition of the trial).

10.Direction by Court

The Court may on application or on its own motion direct that the practice will not apply to a submission, chronology or outline (or all of these) in a particular case or will apply in a modified form.  Any application for such a direction should be made at least five working days before the date on which the submission, chronology or outline to which it relates is due to be filed.

11. Application to other hearings

The Court may direct that the practice will apply in respect of a hearing other than an appeal hearing.  If such a direction is made, this Practice Note will apply as if the hearing were an appeal hearing.

[1]           The practice will not apply to a leave hearing (or other hearing that is not the hearing of a substantive appeal) unless a direction is made under paragraph 11 below.