COVID-19: Related judgments

The judgments below involve issues related to COVID-19.  Many are related to alert level restrictions.  This list will be updated as further judgments involving these issues are published.

Supreme Court

Citation / Summary / Link

Case name: David Simon Barton v R
Case number: SC 13/2020
Citation: [2020] NZSC 24 25 March 2020
Summary: Criminal Appeal - Application for leave to bring an appeal

PDF (351 KB) 

 Court of Appeal

Citation / Summary / Link
Case name: SANDHU v GATE GOURMET NEW ZEALAND LIMITED
Citation: [2021] NZCA 203 21 May 2021
Leave to appeal is granted on the following question of law:

Whether, in the absence of sickness, default, or accident, the minimum wage is payable for all of a worker’s     agreed contracted hours of work

      or whether it is lawful to make deductions from wages for lost time not worked at the employer’s direction

Judgment available on Judicial Decisions Online
Case name: Borrowdale v Director-General of Health
Citation: [2020] NZCA 156 8 May 2020
Summary: Application for removal of judicial review proceeding challenging lockdown notices from High Court, and transfer to Court of Appeal, declined.
PDF (182 KB) 
Case name: Nottingham v Ardern
Citation: [2020] NZCA 144 4 May 2020
Summary: Court of Appeal dismisses appeal against High Court decision to refuse to issue writs of habeas corpus. The measures taken by the Government in response to COVID-19 have not detained the appellants. Judicial review is the appropriate procedure for the allegations of unlawfulness made. Interim name suppression declined.
PDF (236 KB) 

High Court

Citation / Summary / Link

Case name: GF v Minister of COVID-19 Response
Citation: [2021] NZHC 2526 24 September 2021
Summary Unsuccessful application for judicial review of the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Vaccinations) Order 2021.

The Order was delegated legislation validly made pursuant to section 9 of the Public Health Response Act 2020. The Associate Minister of Health was authorised to sign the Order by section 7 of the Constitution Act 1986. The process for creating the Order met all the prerequisites contained in the empowering act and the Order itself. The Order did not contain an unlawful right to override primary legislation. To the extent that the Order infringed the rights protected by ss 11 and 19 of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act, the infringement was no more than was justified in a free and democratic society. In judicial review proceedings it was not appropriate for the Court to second-guess the policy decisions made by the Minister. Those decisions were logical and rational on the basis of the available evidence.

Judgment here

Case name: Nga Kaitiaki Tuku Iho Medical Action Society v Minister of Health
Citation: [2021] NZHC 1107 18 May 2021
Summary: Applicants sought declarations under s 15 Judicial Review Procedure Act declaring the provisional consent granted for the Pfizer Comirnaty COVID-19 vaccine under s 23 Medicines Act was unlawful and vaccine rollout should therefore be halted. Held: There was a reasonably arguable case the consent given was ultra vires s 23, because it contemplates provisional consents will be given for a new medicine only where the medicine will be used to treat a limited number of patients-not all New Zealanders over the age of 16. But the public and private repercussions of hindering the country's vaccine rollout strongly militated against making the declarations. Interim orders declined.

Judgment available on Judicial Decisions Online

Case name: Fraser Wright Maddigan v New Zealand Police
Citation: [2021] NZHC 1035 11 May 2021
Summary: Maddigan found travelling near Te Anau after being told by Police, first in Queenstown and then at Te Anau, he must return to his home in Christchurch to comply with COVID-19 level 4 lockdown restrictions. Appeal against conviction after a guilty plea to a charge under Civil Defence Emergency Management Act for failing to comply with a Police direction. High Court held directions from the Police were likely reasonable and lawful to limit spread of the epidemic. No abuse by Police in charging Maddigan because of belligerent way he had refused to comply with directions. Judge had not denied Maddigan bail to pressure him into pleading guilty. But, legislation did not allow Judge to deny bail. Maddigan had given up his right to defend the charge, in part, to avoid being remanded in prison. Accordingly, his conviction and fine had to be quashed. Proceedings to go back to the District Court.

Judgment available on Judicial Decisions Online

Case name: Borrowdale v Director-General of Health
Citation: [2020] NZHC 2090 19 August 2020
Summary: High Court declares the requirement that New Zealanders stay at home for the 9 day period between 26 March and 3 April was justified, but unlawful. All other challenges to legality of early COVID-19 response fail.

Judgment and Media Release here
Case name: R v Tarrant CRI-2019-009-2468
Summary:
Sentencing of Brenton Harrison Tarrant to proceed under COVID-19 Alert level 2 – victims to have priority in courtrooms
Mander J Minute 18 August 2020 PDF (166 KB) 
Case name: Borrowdale v Director General of Health hearing 27 July 2020
Summary: Borrowdale v Director General of Health – Judicial Review Hearing
case synopsis: PDF (257 KB)
Case name: Graeme Robert Hattie v AG sued on behalf of Chris Hipkins in capacity as Minister of Health and Ors
Summary: Muir J vacates judicial review hearing and urges Director General of Health to urgently readdress terms of purported blanket suspension of compassionate leave from quarantine
Muir J Minute 8 July 2020 PDF (90 KB)
Case name: R v Tarrant CRI-2019-009-2468
Summary: High Court announces sentencing in Queen v Tarrant to commence Monday 24 August at Christchurch High Court: reasons
Mander J Minute 2 July 2020 PDF (153 KB) 

Case name: Christiansen v The Director-General of Health (reasons)
Citation: [2020] NZHC 887 4 May 2020 and [2020] NZHC 883 1 May 2020
Summary: Judicial review of DG's refusal to allow plaintiff to leave mandatory quarantine to visit father at end stage of life. Failure to consider compassionate grounds or exceptional circumstances justified interim relief to allow visit.
Reasons PDF (1.8 MB) Results PDF (40 KB)

Case name: Cama Products Ltd v Power Parts (2018) Ltd
Citation: [2020] NZHC 802 24 April 2020
Summary: Of relevance to the legal arrangements in place in response to COVID-19 is para [20].
Judgment available on Judicial Decisions Online
Case name: B v Ardern
Citation: [2020] NZHC 814 24 April 2020
Summary: Application for a writ of habeas corpus. Application declined.
PDF (212 KB) 
Case name: A v Ardern
Citation: [2020] NZHC 796 23 April 2020
Summary: Application for a writ of habeas corpus. Application declined.
PDF (216 KB) 
Case name: Hikaka v New Zealand Police
Citation: [2020] NZHC 716 7 April 2020
Summary: Driving offending, theft and breaching community detention and intensive supervision. Unsuccessful appeal from 19 months imprisonment. Home detention unsuitable. COVID-19 referred to as potentially relevant consideration.
Judgment: available on Judicial Decisions Online
Case name: Environmental Protection Authority v BW Offshore Singapore Pte Ltd
Citation: [2020] NZHC 704 7 April 2020
Summary: Successful urgent application by EPA to stay Environment Court decision staying abatement notice. Notice prevented oil mining vessel from disconnecting from pipes and leaving New Zealand . Stay granted by the EC allowed disconnection to proceed. HC identified potential legal errors by EC: it did not consider when a notice could be issued for change in circumstances notwithstanding earlier decision; undue focus on legal ownership; risks of vessel being required to stay potentially overstated; and it could not safely conclude that disconnection would be risk neutral. Significant change in circumstances meant that a notice could be issued to allow fuller assessment of potential adverse effects.
Judgment: available on Judicial Decisions Online  
Case name: Savill v AMFL Ltd
Citation: [2020] NZHC 655 25 March 2020
Summary: Application for without notice interim injunction to restrain mortgagee sale during period of COVID-19 Alert Level 4 restrictions. Application granted.
Judgment: available on Judicial Decisions Online  
Case name: Prescott v New Zealand Government
Citation: [2020] NZHC 653 25 March 2020
Summary: Court declined to grant the writ of habeas corpus
Judgment: available on Judicial Decisions Online 
Case name: R v Ekeroma and Fatu
Citation: [2020] NZHC 565 19 March 2020
Summary: Dismissal of further application to discharge jury in relation to COVID-19 developments: here, the Chief Justice's advice to practitioners.
Judgment: available on Judicial Decisions Online  
Case name: R v Ekeroma and Fatu
Citation: [2020] NZHC 562 19 March 2020
Summary: Reasons for dismissal of application by defendant for discharge of the whole jury, per Juries Act 1981, s 22. The application arose amidst COVID-19 issues and focussed on ss 22(2)(a) and 22(3)(a). Counsel was concerned jurors would "rush to justice", in the face of such issues. One juror discharged due to potential illness per s 22(2)(a). Remaining jurors willing to continue. At time of judgment, a "casualty" or "emergency" was not constituted, trial fairness not jeopardised. Application dismissed.
Judgment: available on Judicial Decisions Online 

District Court  

Citation / Summary/ Link

Several cases are published on the District Court website,

Cases tag: COVID-19 DC website

Employment Court

Citation / Summary / Link

Case name: "Employees" v Attorney-General
Case number: EMPC 280/201
Citation: [2021] NZEmpC 141 24 August 2021
Summary: The Employment Court found that it did not have jurisdiction to judicially review the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Vaccinations) Order 2021. It also found that it could not grant an injunction against all employers to prevent them from dismissing employees based on the Order. The applications will continue in the High Court and the Employment Relations Authority.

Judgment PDF (178 KB)