Protocol Past Alert level 4 reinstated 17 August 2021


Chief Judge Kevin Riordan
17 August 2021 

This protocol is current as at 17 August 2021 and remains in force until further notice

Nothing in this document reduces fair trial rights, the right to natural justice, or rights under the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990.

This protocol governs all sittings and proceedings, during the current Covid 19 Level 4 Lockdown, of:

the Court Martial of New Zealand - Te Kōti Whakawā Kaimahi o Te Ope Kātua o Aotearoa, and


the Summary Appeal Court of New Zealand - Te Kōti Whakawā Pīra Whakaraupapa Kaimahi o Te Ope Kātua o Aotearoa

(Collectively referred-to as “the Court”).

It applies in all locations that are subject to Alert Level 4.

Regional variations in alert levels may arise over time. Any necessary variation in proceedings resulting from such differences must be approved by the Chief Judge.

In this document:
“AVL” means any means of communication contemplated by section 37 of the Court Martial Act 2007, and includes platforms which allow for audio and visual remote participation such as VMR, MS Teams and any other electronic platform approved by the presiding Judge.

This protocol will be reviewed and modified as necessary by the Chief Judge.

Court proceedings at Alert Level 4

1.  During Alert Level 4 the Court will continue to provide an essential service subject to capacity levels and the requirement to observe requisite physical distancing and heightened hygiene practices.

Manner of Hearing

2.  The Court will conduct priority proceedings at Alert Level To the extent practicable all priority proceedings at Alert Level 4 will be conducted remotely. Wherever possible, summary appeals will be conducted on the papers.

3.  All other trials will be deferred until further notice.

Priority Proceedings at Alert Level 4

4.  Priority proceedings during Alert Level 4 are those matters of such significant national or disciplinary importance that the immediate attention of the Court is warranted. They include proceedings where the following considerations apply:

  • The liberty of the individual is affected (e.g. bail applications and proceedings against accused persons who are in custody and due to appear during the Alert Level 4 period);
  • Maintenance of defence and security;
  • Ensuring national and community safety interests;
  • Facilitating and promoting public

Access to the Courtroom

5.  If proceeding must be held in a Courtroom, entry to the Court is restricted to the Judge, the Registrar, officers of the Court, military members, counsel, the accused, and other persons deemed necessary by the Judge.

6.  Members of the public (including whānau support person(s) for the accused) will not be permitted to enter unless granted permission by the presiding Judge. Permission must be sought by email to the Registrar in advance. Applications must identify the reason or reasons why permission is sought. They will be determined on a case-by-case basis. This restriction is necessary to protect others and allow the Court to conduct its business in a safe environment.

7.  All persons seeking or granted entry to the Courtroom must:

  • comply with identification requirements for contact tracing purposes,
  • comply with social distancing rules and personal hygiene requirements, and
  • be wearing a suitable

Any person who refuses or fails to comply with these requirements will, in addition to any other consequences they may face, be denied access to the Courtroom.

8.  Any person who is unwell, experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, or is required to be either in isolation or quarantine, must bring this to the attention of the Registrar by e-mail before attending the Court. That person will be refused entry to the Court.

Remote Bail Applications

9.  Applications for bail directed to the Court or to the Judge Advocate General, will be heard by AVL. Counsel or the applicant seeking bail must apply to the Registrar by e-mail..


10. Participation by counsel will be conducted remotely to the extent that is practicable. All counsel are permitted to appear by AVL or telephone.

Virtual Courtrooms

11. A number of locations in which the Court may be required to sit now have facilities suitable for virtual hearings. The Judge and Registrar will generally be in the courtroom unless the judge deemed it unacceptable to do so. Counsel will appear by AVL whenever feasible. The Registrar will advise when these facilities are available.

Accredited news media

12. Accredited news media will be afforded remote access to the Court in order to report court proceedings, and to ensure continued open and transparent justice. Application for remote attendance must be made to the Registrar.

Questions about this Protocol should be directed to the Registrar -