Last updated 13 September 2022
The Aotearoa New Zealand COVID-19 District Court Protocols
Courts are an essential service. The District Court will remain open despite the presence of COVID-19 in the community to ensure access to justice.
On this page:
The District Court COVID-19 in the Community Protocols
The Chief District Court Judge has issued the COVID-19 in the Community Protocol, which is effective from 13 September 2022. This Protocol has information for all District Court participants – including media, counsel, judicial officers, and lay advocates.
District Court COVID-19 in the Community Protocol [PDF, 349 KB]
Under the new COVID-19 District Court Protocols:
- People entering the courts will not be required to show proof of vaccination, and court staff will not be checking vaccine passes.
- Participants who have any symptoms of Covid-19, however minor, must take a RAT before attending court
- All persons entering the court building may wear a surgical mask or a KN95 mask and are encouraged to do so when moving around the court building.
District Court processes and procedures may vary. We recommend court users check this page regularly.
COVID-19 Protocols and Practice Notes
Expiration of Epidemic Notice – impact on Court operations(external link) – effective from 20 October 2022
Chief Justice Helen Winkelmann: Statement to the profession.
Date issued: 19 October 2022
Protocol Concerning High Court and District Court Jury Trials (external link) – applicable from 13 September 2022
This Protocol outlines the COVID-19 health and safety requirements for jurors in High Court and District Court jury trials.
Note: This Protocol revokes and replaces the modifications to the Jury Rules 1990 set out in the Protocol dated 21 December 2021.
Date issued: 13 September 2022
Jury Trial Guidelines [PDF, 254 KB] — effective from 13 September 2022
These guidelines will be used for the conduct of jury trials in the High Court and District Court with effect from Monday 13 September 2022.
Date issued: 13 September 2022
Family Court COVID-19 Protocol for the adoption of New Zealand surrogate babies born overseas
This Protocol aims to provide a temporary, targeted response to the specific issue of the inability to obtain a passport in the country of the baby’s birth.
Date issued: 20 August 2020
Date amended: 26 February 2021; extended to 23 September 2021. Document outlining the key messages added.
Date amended: 21 September 2021; extended to 23 March 2022.
Date amended: 22 March 2022; extended to 23 September 2022.
Key messages on Family Court COVID-19 Protocol for the adoption of New Zealand surrogate babies born overseas
This page provides a useful summary of the key messages from the Family Court COVID-19 Protocol for the adoption of New Zealand surrogate babies born overseas.
Date issued: 4 May 2022
Local solution framework – insufficient workforce capacity(external link)
This local solutions framework applies if a court is unable to conduct:
- all priority and non-priority proceedings, due to insufficient workforce capacity on the part of all, and/or
- the entry processes that would normally apply under the Traffic Light Protocol for the District Court, due to insufficient workforce capacity on the part of court security officers.
Date issued: 2 March 2022
COVID-19 Protocol for the guardianship of unaccompanied or separated minors subject to evacuation from Afghanistan
This Protocol applies to applications filed under the Care of Children Act 2004 or the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989 in relation to unaccompanied or separated children who entered New Zealand on evacuation flights from Afghanistan (or who are still to arrive in New Zealand) as a result of the Taliban takeover of Kabul in August 2021. Its purpose is to ensure that such applications are considered without undue delay and process.
Date issued: 31 January 2022
Update to guidance regarding shared care arrangements of children at COVID-19 Alert Levels [PDF, 232 KB] — as at 1 October 2021
Statement from the Principal Family Court Judge, Judge Jacquelyn Moran. Clarification regarding the care arrangements of children subject to Family Court orders.
|Note: The COVID-19 Alert Level System(external link) ended at 11:59pm on 2 December 2021 and was replaced with the COVID-19 Protection Framework(external link) (traffic light system) which also ended at 11:59pm 12 September 2022. This guidance pertains to the COVID-19 Alert Level system, which is no longer in force. However, this guidance remains publicly available, as families may find this information useful as COVID-19 continues to impact shared care arrangements.
Date amended: 1 October 2021
Date issued: 24 March 2020
Date amended: 30 August 2021
Date amended: 3 September 2021
Date amended: 13 September 2021
Date amended: 22 September 2021