Supreme Court: Current COVID-19 Protocol
Chief Justice Helen Winkelmann
23 June 2021
1. This protocol applies while COVID-19 Alert Level 1 or 2 applies in the Wellington region (the Level 1 or 2 period). It comes into effect on 23 June 2021. It replaces the protocol dated 15 February 2021.
2. Subject to the restrictions noted below, the Court intends to hear all appeals and applications for leave to appeal that have been scheduled for hearing during the Level 1 or 2 period. Hearings will proceed in the normal way, with all judges and counsel present in person in the Supreme Court courtroom, as long as counsel and any self-represented parties who are based outside Wellington are able to travel safely to Wellington for the hearing.
3. If any counsel or self-represented party is based in an area where Alert Level 3 or 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 audio-visual link. Any counsel or self-represented party to whom this applies should contact the Registry prior to any scheduled hearing so the necessary arrangements can be made for them to appear remotely.
4. If counsel or any self-represented party is unwell, at higher risk of severe illness, immune-compromised or with a relevant underlying health condition, they should not attend Court. If this applies, they should contact the Registry so the necessary arrangements can be made for them to appear remotely, if they are able to do so, using an audio-visual link.
5. At Alert Level 2, the Court recognises that interested parties who wish to observe the hearing may want to do so without having to attend in person. Where possible, the Court will make arrangements for such parties to observe
the hearing remotely, using an audio-visual link. Any person interested in this possibility should contact the Registry. Also, at alert level 2, documents may not be handed up during a hearing but must instead be emailed to the Court by 4.00 pm the day prior to the hearing.
6. The Protocol for Participation in Virtual Hearings and the Protocol for Remote Viewing of Hearings will apply to any hearings involving remote participants. The protocols also governs remote access to hearings for media representatives and others.
7. Hearings will be recorded in the usual way.
Health and safety
8. The Supreme Court courtroom will continue to be cleaned thoroughly on a daily basis. Hand sanitiser and antibacterial wipes will be available inside the courtroom. More details are available on the Ministry of Justice website.
9. Anyone entering the Supreme Court building is encouraged to register their attendance on a list maintained by the Registrar or scan the QR code at the entrance to the building. Any person present in the Supreme Court courtroom and court building must observe any applicable hygiene and social distancing requirements and the wearing of masks is encouraged. Any person present may also elect to wear gloves.
Filing of documents
10. Court documents may be filed in person, by post or by email. Filing by email is encouraged. If court documents are filed in person, hygiene requirements must be followed in accordance with instructions from the Registry officer receiving the documents. Processing of documents filed by post or in person may be delayed if that is necessary to meet hygiene requirements.
11. Filing fees may be paid by File and Pay. Please contact the Registry by email at the address below or by telephone (04 918 8222) if you need guidance as to how to do this.
Addresses for filing documents and contacting the Court
All electronic filing should be sent to email@example.com. 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, Court of Appeal and High Court have issued two new protocols, effective from 29 July 2021:
The protocols contain procedural instructions and technical information for counsel, parties, witnesses, media, and other observers who will be remotely participating in hearings in these Courts.
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:
Protocol during Alert Level 2 (August-September 2020)
Protocol during Alert Level 1, issued 9 June 2020
Protocol during Alert Level 2 (May-June 2020)
Protocol during Alert Level 3 (April-May 2020)
Protocol during Alert Level 4 (25 March 2020)