COVID-19 information

Last updated 25 May 2022

All of Aotearoa New Zealand is at the Orange Traffic Light setting under the COVID-19 Protection Framework

Courts remain an essential service under all COVID-19 restrictions, but may operate differently. This page has information on how the District Court is operating under the Orange setting.

On this page:

Related websites:

The District Court under Orange setting

The Chief District Court Judge has issued an updated COVID-19 Protection Framework Green, Orange and Red Protocol, which is effective from 26 April 2022. This Protocol has information for all District Court participants – including media, counsel, judicial officers, and lay advocates.

District Court COVID-19 Protection Framework Green, Orange and Red Protocol, effective 26 April 2022

Under the Orange Traffic Light setting:

  • People entering the courts will not be required to show proof of vaccination, and court staff will not be checking vaccine passes.
  • All court participants may be asked to take a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) each morning, if they are attending a hearing lasting more than one day. RATs may also be required for shorter hearings (e.g. half a day) if the presiding judge so directs.
  • Masks must continue to be worn inside court buildings, and will be supplied to anyone attending court who does not have one. Surgical masks or KN95 (or equivalent) masks are required.

District Court processes and procedures may vary depending on the Traffic Light Level. We recommend court users check this page regularly.

COVID-19 Protocols and Practice Notes

Protocol concerning High Court and District Court jury trials – applicable from 26 April 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: 21 April 2022

Jury trial bubble guidelines — effective from 26 April 2022
These guidelines will be used for the conduct of jury trials in the High Court and District Court with effect from Tuesday 26 April 2022.

 Date issued: 20 April 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
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 — 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 ended at 11:59pm on 2 December 2021 and was replaced with the COVID-19 Protection Framework (traffic light system).  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