COVID-19: Related cases

This page lists recent and upcoming active cases in the High Court involving COVID-19 matters.

Judgments involving COVID-19 matters are available on the COVID-19: Related judgments page.

Orewa Community Church & Ors v Minister for COVID-19 Response


Status: Active

Proceeding: Judicial review

Hearing : The case is set down to be heard on 16, 17 and 20 June, to be heard consecutively with another case Free To Be Church v Minister for Covid-19 Response CIV-2022-485-123

Summary : The case involves considerations of the restrictions imposed by the applicants’ landlords so as to exclude persons from personally attending as part of the congregations of the various religious organisations seeking the review.

D & Ors v Minister of Health & Ors


Status: Active

Proceeding: Judicial review

Hearing set down for 27 January at 10am for one day. Judgment issued on 1 February (in the name of MKD & Ors v Minister of Health) in relation to the interim relief sought. Interim relief declined. Has a further CMC re the substantive matter on the 28th March.

Summary Judicial Review challenging the approval and rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine to children aged 5-11.  Name suppression of the applicants applies until further order of the court.

Grounded Kiwis Group Ltd v Ministry of Health


Status: Finished

Proceeding: Judicial review

Hearing: 14 and 15 February 2022.

Summary: Grounded Kiwis challenged elements of the MIQ system from 1 Sept 2021 to 17 Dec 2021 were unjustified limits on NZ citizens’ right of entry affirmed by s 18(2) of NZBORA. The respondents contended the system was a demonstrably justified public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Held: the system, where places in MIQ were available through a virtual lobby that did not prioritise citizens over others or on the basis of need or the length of time a person had been seeking to return, was not a justified limit on the s 18(2) process when demand for MIQ sufficiently exceeded supply. Emergency process did not sufficiently ameliorate this due to its tight criteria that was narrowly interpreted.

Judgment PDF ( 1.3 KB)

Media release provided to assist in the understanding of the judgment PDF (208 KB) 

NZDSOS Inc & NZTSOS v Minister for COVID-19 Response & Attorney General


Status: Finished

Proceeding: Judicial review

Hearing : 3, 4 and 7 March 2022

Summary: Unsuccessful judicial review challenge to the vaccine mandates in the health and disability, and education sectors. The mandates were established in October 2021. A Government announcement that they were to be discontinued in the education sector, and narrowed in the health and disability sector was made in March 2022. The Court held that the mandates were lawful as a demonstrably justified limit on the right to refuse a medical treatment when they were imposed, and that it was unable to conclude they were unjustified prior to the Government announcements notwithstanding that the increased transmissibility of the Omicron variant reduced the justification for the mandates. Criteria for exemptions from the mandate were also held not to be unreasonable.

Judgment NZDSOS Inc v Minister for Covid-19 Response [2022] NZHC 716   8 April 2022

Hearing on first cause of action: 8 November 2021. This was heard concurrently with CIV-2021-485-584: Four Midwives v Minister for COVID-19 Response.

Judgment, first cause of action: Four Midwives, NZDSOS and NZTSOS v Minister for COVID-19 Response [2021] NZHC 3064 [12 November 2021]

Judgment, interim orders: NZDSOS and NZTSOS v Minister for COVID-19 Response [2021] NZHC 3071 [12 November 2021]

Summary: Four midwives, NZDSOS and NZTSOS challenge the order requiring them to be vaccinated against COVID-19. They argue the order is not legally valid because the Act does not empower it to be made, if interpreted consistently with the right to refuse medical treatment under the Bill of Rights and the principle of legality. A second cause of action of NZDSOS and NZTSOS, that the Order is invalid because it is not a reasonable and justified limit on the right under s 5 of the Bill of Rights, has yet to be heard.

The words of the Act encompass the power to require a person not to associate with others unless vaccinated, and to be vaccinated in order to engage in an activity. Interpreting the empowering provision in light of its purpose and context does not detract from that. The right to refuse to undergo medical treatment under s 11 of the Bill of Rights is engaged here. No order can be made under the empowering provision that limits the right unless it is reasonable, prescribed by law and can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society under s 5 of the Bill of Rights. In this case, the applicants do not argue the Order is an unjustified limit. The Bill of Rights does not require the usual purposive interpretation of empowering provision to be narrowed to mean that the Order is outside its scope. Indeed, the text of the Act explicitly indicates that Parliament envisaged that orders may be made which limit rights under the Bill of Rights, as long as the limits are justified under s 5. The common law principle of legality, which requires legislative limitations on fundamental rights to be clearly expressed, does not require a different interpretation.

The application is declined. The four midwives are anonymised in the judgment and their court file is not to be searched without permission of a Judge, for three years, to preserve their effective exercise of the right of access to justice, in light of concerns for them and their family members deriving from current social division.



Bailey v The Medical Council of New Zealand


Status: Finished

Proceeding: Judicial review

Hearing: Set down for 8 and 9 February 2022. Parties filed a joint memorandum advising of a confidential settlement. File closed, discontinuance to be filed.

Judgment, interim orders: Bailey v The Medical Council of New Zealand [2021] NZHC 3168 [24 November 2021]

The applicant is a registered medical practitioner who was referred to the Professional Conduct Committee for investigation as a result of video content relating to COVID-19.  She challenges that decision by way of judicial review. 

She also applied for interim orders to stop a Medical Council disciplinary process until the substantive hearing.  That application was heard on 17 November 2021 and was declined on the basis of the balance of convenience and interests of justice.

Yardley, Wallace and a Defence Force Worker v Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety, Commissioner of Police, Chief Of Defence Force, and the Attorney General


Status: Finished

Proceeding: Judicial Review

Substantive hearing  was on 15 February 2022 at 10am at the Wellington High Court.

Interim orders The matter is a Judicial Review challenging the validity of the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Specified Work Vaccinations) Order 2021. The parties also filed an application for interim orders seeking that the second and third respondents do not take any steps under the Order on 17 January 2022. A teleconference was held with Justice Cull on 12 January. Her Honour declined to make the interim orders sought.

Summary Judicial review proceedings brought by three Police and Defence Force workers against the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Specified Work Vaccinations) Order 2021. The High Court upheld the challenge, finding that the Order imposed an unjustified limitation on the applicants' rights, and that the limit was not demonstrably justified. The Court was not satisfied that the Order advanced the purpose for which it was created, namely to ensure the continuity of public services and maintain public trust in those services. The number of workers affected across Police and NZDF was small, and there was nothing to suggest internal vaccination policies could not achieve the objective. Further, the emergence of the Omicron variant meant that a threat existed for both vaccinated and unvaccinated staff and the Order did not make a material difference in that regard. The Order was accordingly set aside.


Media release MR 2022 NZHC 291