Supreme Court: Current COVID-19 Protocol


5 March 2021: Protocol, COVID-19 Alert Level 1 or Alert Level 2

Remote hearings

Protocols during past alert levels


COVID-19 Alert Level 1 or 2 Protocol

Chief Justice Helen Winkelmann
15 February 2021 reinstated 5 March 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 15 February 2021.  It replaces the protocol dated 6 November 2020.


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, 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.  In addition, documents may not be handed up during a hearing in Alert Level 2 but must instead be emailed to the Court by 4.00 pm the day prior to the hearing.

6.  The Supreme Court and Court of Appeal Remote Hearings Protocol will apply to any hearings involving remote participants. That protocol 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.  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.  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 direct credit. Please contact the Registry by email at the address below or by telephone (04 918 8222) to arrange this.

Addresses for filing documents and contacting the Court

All electronic filing should be sent to  This is also the email address for urgent enquiries.

All filing by mail should be sent to:

85 Lambton Quay,
Wellington 6011

DX: SX11224, Wellington

This protocol is subject to revision.


Remote hearings

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.

Protocols during past alert levels

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)