Supreme Court: Current COVID-19 Protocol

6 December 2021 COVID-19 Protection Framework Protocol

30 August 2021 COVID-19 Alert Levels Protocol

Remote hearings
Protocols during past alert levels

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COVID-19 Protection Framework

Chief Justice Helen Winkelmann
6 December 2021

1.  This protocol applies from 6 December 2021 and continues in force until 1 February 2022.

2.  While Wellington is in a COVID-19 Protection Framework Green or Orange zone, the Supreme Court | Te Kōti Mana Nui will operate according to the practices that applied while Alert Level 2 applied in the Wellington region under the Court’s Protocol of 30 August 2021 (see below).

3.  While Wellington is in a COVID-19 Protection Framework Red zone, the Supreme Court | Te Kōti Mana Nui will operate according to the practices that applied while Alert Level 3 applied in the Wellington region under the Court’s Protocol of 30 August 2021 (see below).

COVID-19 Alert Levels

Chief Justice Helen Winkelmann
30 August 2021

1.  This protocol sets out how the Supreme Court | Te Kōti Mana Nui will operate while each COVID-19 Alert Level (Alert Levels 1, 2, 3 and 4) applies in the Wellington region.  It comes into effect on 31 August 2021.  It replaces the protocol dated 18 August 2021.

Hearings

Alert Levels 1 and 2

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 an Alert 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.

Alert Levels 3 and 4

6.  At Alert Level 3 or 4, any hearings that will proceed are likely to be conducted by audio-visual link or telephone  The Court will contact counsel closer to the hearing date about the arrangements to be made for the hearings of the Supreme Court that are scheduled to be heard during an Alert Level 3 or 4 period.  Scheduled hearings may be deferred if a hearing by audio-visual link or telephone is not able to be arranged or is inappropriate given the nature of the scheduled hearing.

7.  Special arrangements will be made for urgent hearings if required.

8.  The Court recognises that interested parties may wish to observe a hearing conducted by audio-visual link.  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. 

All Alert Levels

9.  The Protocol for Participation in Remote Hearings will apply to any hearings involving remote participants.

10.The Protocol for Remote Viewing of Hearings governs remote access to hearings for media representatives and others.

11.Hearings will be recorded in the usual way.

Health and safety in the Supreme Court building

Alert Levels 1 and 2

12.At Alert Levels 1 and 2, the Supreme Court courtroom will be cleaned thoroughly before and after each hearing and, if a hearing lasts for more than one day, at the end of each hearing day.  Hand sanitiser and antibacterial wipes will be available inside the courtroom.  More details are available on the Ministry of Justice website.

13.Anyone entering 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 if required by law to do so.  Otherwise, registration or scanning is encouraged.  Any person present in the Supreme Court building must observe any applicable hygiene and social distancing requirements and wear a mask if required by law to do so.  Otherwise, the wearing of masks is encouraged.  Any person present may also elect to wear gloves.

Alert Levels 3 and 4

14.At Alert Levels 3 and 4, the Supreme Court building will not be open to the public.  In the event that an exception is made and entry is allowed, paragraphs 12 and 13 above will apply.

Filing of documents

Alert Levels 1 and 2

15.At Alert Levels 1 and 2, court documents may be filed in person, by post, by email or via the file and pay service (see paragraph 17 below).  Filing by email or via the file and pay service 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.

Alert Levels 3 and 4

16.At Alert Levels 3 and 4, all filing of court documents is to be done by email or via the file and pay service.  If a party does not have the ability to file electronically, filing may be done by post.  However, mail will be checked only periodically and processing of documents filed by post may be delayed if that is necessary to meet hygiene requirements.  No documents will be received for filing in person at the Registry.

Filing fees

All Alert Levels

17.At all Alert Levels, 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 supremecourt@justice.govt.nz.  This is also the email address for urgent enquiries.

All filing by post should be sent to:

85 Lambton Quay,
Wellington 6011

DX: SX11224, Wellington

This protocol is subject to revision. 

 


Remote hearings

The Supreme Court, Court of Appeal and High Court have issued two new protocols, effective from 31 August 2021:

Protocol for Participation in Remote Hearings

Protocol for Remote Viewing of Hearings

 

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.