Environment Court: Current COVID-19 Protocol
1. This protocol applies to the Environment Court (Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch registries) during COVID-19 Alert Level 1 and comes into effect on 7 October 2020.
2. The Court is now processing, mediating and hearing all classes of cases in courthouse and non-courthouse premises.
3. Everyone attending Court will continue to be encouraged to wear masks and to practise physical distancing. The Court also strongly encourages the use of the NZ COVID QR Tracer codes that are in place in the entranceways of all Courts (or keeping a personal record).
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. Where any event in a proceeding occurs in courthouse premises, the Ministry of Justice will provide hygiene measures as described here
10. 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.
11. Any concerns about health and safety practices in the Court should be raised with the Registrar in the first instance
12. The Court’s public counters are open for filing. Court documents may be filed in person, by post or by email.
13. 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.
14. 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.
15. All electronic filing should be sent to the relevant case or hearing manager or the Court’s email address at email@example.com
The information on this page reflects the current COVID-19 alert levels. For Environment Court protocols during past alert levels, please refer to:
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
Protocol during Alert Level 2 (May-June 2020)
Protocol during Alert Level 3 (April-May 2020)
Protocol during Alert Level 4