Environment Court: Current COVID-19 Protocol

12 March 2021: COVID-19 Alert Level 1 reinstated for Auckland

Past Protocols, effective during previous Alert Levels

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Updated Protocol: COVID-19 Alert Level 1
Chief Environment Court Judge David Kirkpatrick
12 March 2021

1.  This protocol applies to the Environment Court during COVID-19 Alert Level 1 and comes into effect on 13 March 2021.

2.  The Court is now processing, mediating and hearing all classes of cases in courthouse and non-courthouse premises.

3.  Some continuing remote participation will be appropriate where travel arrangements are problematic (particularly where a participant is based overseas) or where any participant has a medical vulnerability.

Hearings

4.  Hearings will proceed in the normal way, with all participants present in person. The Court will normally sit with the statutory quorum of one Judge and one Commissioner. In certain cases the Court will comprise one Judge and two Commissioners.

5.  If any participant is at higher risk of severe illness, is immune-compromised or has a relevant underlying health condition, they should not attend Court.  If this applies, the Court should be advised so that alternative arrangements for the attendance can be made.

Mediation and expert conferences

6.  Mediation and expert conferences will proceed in the normal way, with the participants generally meeting in person. The option of remote participation can be considered when the event is being organised.

7.  If any participant is at higher risk of severe illness, is immune-compromised or has a relevant underlying health condition, they should not attend Court.  If this applies, the Court should be advised so that alternative arrangements for the attendance can be made.

Hygiene

8.  Where any event in a proceeding occurs in courthouse premises, the Ministry of Justice will provide hygiene measures as described online.

9.  Where any event in a proceeding occurs in non-courthouse premises, the Court will obtain confirmation from the operator that equivalent standards to those in courthouses are being met.

10. Any concerns about health and safety practices in the Court should be raised with the Registrar in the first instance

Filing of documents

11. The Court’s public counters are open for filing. Court documents may be filed in person, by post or by email. 

12.  A general waiver suspending the requirement to file paper originals and copies remains in place, but the Court may require paper copies of documents and evidence to be filed in certain circumstances. Participants will be advised by the Court if this requirement is applicable in their case. 

Filing fees

13.  The payment of fees can be made by direct debit, by cheque and by eftpos at the registry counter. Fee waiver applications can be made as usual via email or mail.   Please contact the Court if you have any issues regarding the payment of fees. 

Addresses for electronic filing of documents

14.  All electronic filing should be sent to the relevant case or hearing manager or the Court’s email address at environment.court@justice.govt.nz  

Contact details for Deputy Registrars

Auckland
Gemma Carlyon
027 446 7193
gemma.carlyon@justice.govt.nz

Wellington
Rachell Staunton
027 256 9494
rachell.staunton@justice.govt.nz

Christchurch
Michael Tinkler
027 280 8135
michael.tinkler@justice.govt.nz

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Protocol: COVID-19 Alert Level 2
Chief Environment Court Judge David Kirkpatrick
18 February 2021 - resinstated 5 March 2021

1.  This protocol applies to the Environment Court (Auckland registry) during COVID-19 Alert Level 2 and comes into effect on 18 February  

2.  Emphasis is being placed on electronic remote means of conferencing and hearing cases, but sometimes a hearing in Court involving limited numbers of participants; strict social distancing and sanitary cleansing will occur, consistent with safety as first priority. Alternatively, it might be agreed by the parties to hear a matter “on the (electronic) papers”.

Hearings

3.  The Court anticipates that hearings will generally proceed in the normal way. The Court will notify counsel in advance of the hearing if it is intended that the hearing will be conducted other than on the above basis. 

4.  The Court will normally sit with the statutory quorum of one Judge and one Commissioner. In certain cases the Court will comprise one Judge and two Commissioners.

5.  If any participant is at higher risk of severe illness, is immune-compromised or has a relevant underlying health condition, they should not attend Court.  If this applies, the Court should be advised so that alternative arrangements for the attendance can be made.

Mediation and expert conferences

6.  Mediation and expert conferences will proceed in the normal way, with the participants generally meeting in person. The option of remote participation can be considered when the event is being organised.

7.  If any participant is at higher risk of severe illness, is immune-compromised or has a relevant underlying health condition, they should not attend Court.  If this applies, the Court should be advised so that alternative arrangements for the attendance can be made.

Hygiene

8.  Where any event in a proceeding occurs in courthouse premises, the Ministry of Justice will provide hygiene measures as described here:

9.  Where any event in a proceeding occurs in non-courthouse premises, the Court will obtain confirmation from the operator that equivalent standards to those in courthouses are being met.

10. Any concerns about health and safety practices in the Court should be raised with the Registrar in the first instance

Filing of documents

11. Court documents may be filed by post or by email. Court documents cannot be filed in person at the Court Registry. 

12.  A general waiver suspending the requirement to file paper originals and copies is in place.

Filing fees

13.  The payment of fees can be made by direct debit or by cheque. There is no ability to pay in person at the Court Registry.  Fee waiver applications can be made as usual via email or mail.   Please contact the Court if you have any issues regarding the payment of fees. 

Addresses for electronic filing of documents

14. All electronic filing should be sent to the relevant case or hearing manager or the Court’s email address at environment.court@justice.govt.nz

 

Contact details for Deputy Registrars

Auckland
Gemma Carlyon
027 446 7193
gemma.carlyon@justice.govt.nz

Wellington
Rachell Staunton
027 256 9494
rachell.staunton@justice.govt.nz

Christchurch
Michael Tinkler
027 280 8135
michael.tinkler@justice.govt.nz

 

Protocol: COVID-19 Alert Level 3
For the Auckland registry

Chief Environment Court Judge David Kirkpatrick
15 February 2021 - reinstated 28 February 2021

1.  This protocol applies to the Environment Court (Auckland registry) during COVID-19 Alert Level 3 and comes into effect on 15 February 2021. 

2.  Any hearings, mediations and/or conferences that occur during COVID-19 Alert Level 3 will take place electronically and on a remote basis.  Alternatively, the parties may agree that matters can be heard “on the (electronic) papers”.

Hearings

3.  Any hearings that proceed during this period will be conducted by audio-visual link or telephone. 

4.  Special arrangements will be made for urgent hearings, if required.

5.  The Court will be flexible with its procedures and filing deadlines.   If deadlines are not able to be met, contact should be made with the registry by email to seek an extension of time.

Mediation and expert conferences

6.  Any mediations or expert conferences that proceed during this period will be conducted by audio-visual link or telephone. 

Filing of documents

7.  Court documents may be filed by post or by email.  Court documents cannot be filed in person at the Court Registry.  The processing of any documents filed by post may be delayed. 

8.  A general waiver suspending the requirement to file paper originals and copies is in place. 

Filing fees

9.  The payment of fees can be made by direct debit or by cheque.  There is no ability to pay in person at the Court Registry. 

10. Fee waiver applications can be made as usual via email or mail.   Please contact the Court if you have any issues regarding the payment of fees. 

Addresses for electronic filing of documents

All electronic filing should be sent to the relevant case or hearing manager or the Court’s email address at environment.court@justice.govt.nz  

Contact details for Deputy Registrars

Auckland
Gemma Carlyon
027 446 7193
gemma.carlyon@justice.govt.nz

Wellington
Rachell Staunton
027 256 9494
rachell.staunton@justice.govt.nz

Christchurch
Michael Tinkler
027 280 8135
michael.tinkler@justice.govt.nz

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Other protocols effective during past alert levels

For Environment Court protocols during past alert levels, please refer to:

5 March 2021: COVID-19 Alert Level 2 reinstated
28 February 2021: COVID-19 Alert Level 3 reinstated
Protocol Alert Level 1 (Wellington and Christchurch registries) and Alert Level 2 (Auckland) issued 31 August 2020
Protocol during Alert Level 3 (August 2020, Auckland region)
Protocol during Alert Level 1 (22 July 2020)
Protocol during Alert Level 2 (May-June 2020)
Protocol during Alert Level 3 (April-May 2020)
Protocol during Alert Level 4 (3 April 2020)