Supreme Court

The Supreme Court is New Zealands final court of appeal. It deals with criminal and civil appeals from the lower courts. The Supreme Court must grant leave before an appeal can begin.

The number of applications for leave to appeal filed in the Supreme Court has been increasing since its establishment in 2004. This is due to the gradual phasing out of cases able to be appealed to the Privy Council and the increased profile of the Court.

Criminal jurisdiction

In 2011 the Supreme Court dealt with a large volume of criminal applications for leave to appeal and criminal appeals as a result of the Urewera firearms case that has been progressing in the High Court. Thirty criminal appeals were disposed in 2011, compared to 10 in 2010. As at 31 December 2011 there were two active criminal appeals (awaiting hearing or awaiting judgment), following a significant number of disposals in September.

Civil jurisdiction

Both new business and disposals of civil appeals decreased in 2011. Sixteen new civil appeals were filed in 2011, down from 27 in 2010. The Court disposed of 17 appeals in 2011, down from 26 in 2010. As at 31 December 2011 there were 16 civil appeals awaiting hearing or judgment, a similar level to at the end of 2010.


Supreme Court case volumes