Supreme Court: Current COVID-19 Protocol
Chief Justice Helen Winkelmann
12 August 2020
1. This protocol applies while COVID-19 Alert Level 2 applies in the Wellington region. It comes into effect on 12 August 2020.
2. Courts are an essential service. At Alert Level 2, and subject to the restrictions noted below, the Supreme Court/Te Kōti Mana Nui 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 courts function to the fullest extent they safely can in performance of their constitutional responsibility.
3. The Court intends to hear all appeals and applications for leave to appeal that have been scheduled for hearing during the Alert Level 2 period. The Court anticipates that hearings will proceed in the normal way, with all judges and counsel present in person in the Supreme Court courtroom if counsel and any self-represented parties are based in Wellington or are able to travel safely to Wellington for the hearing.
4. If any counsel or any self-represented party is based in an area where alert level 3 or alert level 4 applies, or is otherwise unable to travel safely to Wellington for the hearing, the Court will make arrangements for that counsel or party to appear remotely, using an approved audio-visual link.
5. If counsel or any self-represented party is at higher risk of severe illness, immune-compromised or with a relevant underlying health condition, they should not attend Court. If this applies, the Court should be advised so that arrangements can be made for that counsel or party to appear remotely, using an audio-visual link.
6. The Registry will contact counsel and any self-represented party prior to any scheduled hearing to ascertain whether it will be necessary to make arrangements for them to appear or attend remotely.
7. Only counsel and self-represented parties should attend any court hearing in person. Counsel are asked to notify their clients of this. Where possible, the Court will make arrangements for interested parties to observe the hearing remotely using an audio-visual link.
8. 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.
9. Hearings will continue to be recorded in the usual way.
10. Documents may not be handed up during the hearing but must instead be emailed to the Court by 4:00 pm the day prior to the hearing.
11. The Supreme Court courtroom will continue to be cleaned thoroughly on a daily basis. Benches and the rostrum from which counsel address the Court will be cleaned after each use. Hand sanitiser and antibacterial wipes will be available inside the courtroom.
12. Any person present in the Supreme Court courtroom and court building must observe hygiene and social distancing requirements, and may elect to wear a mask and gloves.
13. Any media representative or member of the public present in the Supreme Court building must register their attendance on a list maintained by the Registrar or scan the QR code at the entrance to the building.
14. In the event of community transmission in Wellington, public health advice will be taken, and further directions given. Steps may be taken to reduce access to the Supreme Court building to help protect those working or appearing there.
15. Court documents are to be filed by email. Under s 24 of the Epidemic Preparedness Act 2006, I modify the Supreme Court Rules 2004 so that applications for leave to appeal that would normally have to be filed in person or by post will be accepted for filing if filed by email.
16. 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.
17. Filing fees remain payable in the usual way. Fees may be paid by direct credit. Please contact the Registry by email at the address below or by telephone (04 918 8222) to arrange this.
All electronic filing should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. This is also the email address for urgent enquiries.
All filing by mail should be sent to:
85 Lambton Quay
DX: SX11224, Wellington
This protocol is subject to revision.
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. Please refer to these instructions if you are unsure whether you are able to attend in person.
The information on this page reflects the current COVID-19 alert levels. For Supreme Court protocols during past alert levels, please refer to: