Court of Appeal: Current COVID-19 Protocol

NB: The information on this page reflects the current COVID-19 alert level.  For Court of Appeal protocols during past alert levels, please refer to:

Protocol during Alert Level 3
Protocol during Alert Level 4


Remote Hearings Protocol
13 May 2020: Practice note, COVID-19 Alert Level 2
6 April 2020: Direction, Execution of notices of criminal appeal and application


Remote Hearings Protocol

The Supreme Court and Court of Appeal have issued a protocol for conducting remote hearings.

This contains procedural instructions and technical information for counsel, parties, witnesses, media, and other observers who will be remotely participating in hearings in these Courts.

The Protocol also contains instructions for people who wish to attend a hearing in person while travel restrictions are in force.  Seats in these Courts are being reserved only for those whose attendance in person has been arranged before each hearing.  Please refer to these instructions if you are unsure whether you are able to attend in person.


Practice note: COVID-19 Alert Level 2

President Stephen Kós
13 May 2020

1.  This practice note applies from Monday 18 May 2020, following the commencement of COVID-19 Alert Level 2.  At that time it replaces the practice notice issued on 28 April 2020.

2.  Courts are an essential service.  At Alert Level 2, and subject to the restrictions noted below, the Court of Appeal will continue to carry out all usual scheduled work that can safely be supported.  This requires the co-operation of all participants to ensure the Court functions fully, but safely, in the performance of its constitutional responsibilities.


3.  Hearings of the Court in courtrooms in Wellington (Court of Appeal), Auckland (at the High Court) and Christchurch (at the High Court) will be conducted in the usual way, subject to the provisions of this practice note.

4.  During Level 2, participants may elect instead to join oral hearings by approved audio‑visual link.

5.  The Supreme Court and Court of Appeal Remote Hearings Protocol will apply to any hearings involving remote participants.  That protocol also governs media and public access to hearings.

6.  Hearings will continue to be recorded in the usual way.

7.  Documents may not be handed up to the Bench during Level 2, but must be emailed to the Court by 4:00 pm the day prior to the hearing.

Health and safety

8.  Courtrooms continue to be cleaned thoroughly on a daily basis.  Benches will be cleaned after each use.  Hand sanitiser and antibacterial wipes will be available inside the courtroom.

9.  Persons present in a courtroom and courthouse must register their attendance on a list maintained by the Registrar (or court taker, in the case of counsel) and observe hygiene and social distancing requirements.  They may elect to wear a mask and gloves.

10.  In the event of community transmission within a relevant courthouse catchment area, public health advice will be taken, and further directions given.  Steps may be taken to reduce in-person attendances at the Court to help protect those working or appearing there.

Health and safety guidance is also available from the Ministry of Justice.

Filing of documents

11.  Court documents are to be filed by email, at the following address:

12.  Those who cannot file by email may file by post or file in person at the Registry, provided hygiene requirements are followed.  Due to hygiene requirements, processing of these documents may be delayed significantly.

13.  Special directions permitting execution by counsel of criminal applications and appeals continue to apply until further notice.

Filing fees

14.  Payment of filing fees is no longer suspended.  Fees suspended during Alert Levels 3 and 4 must now be paid.


Direction: Execution of notices of criminal appeal and application

President Stephen Kós
6 April 2020

1.  Rule 8(1) of the Court of Appeal (Criminal) Rules 2001 requires a notice of appeal or application to be signed by an appellant personally.

2.  This requirement is often impracticable under the current Level 4 state of emergency.

3.  Pursuant to r 4(3) of the same Rules, I direct that until further notice the Court will accept for filing a notice of appeal or application signed by counsel, provided counsel:

a)  certifies that personal execution by the appellant is presently impracticable;

b)  certifies that the notice has been read by or to, and approved by, the appellant; and

c)  undertakes that an original notice signed by the appellant will be filed as soon as practicable (and prior to any fixture being allocated).