Bill to speed justice passes first reading

  • Judith Collins

A Bill modernising the 100-year old law underpinning New Zealand’s courts has passed its first reading in Parliament today.

Justice Minister Judith Collins says the Judicature Modernisation Bill supports this Government’s commitment to delivering a 21st century justice system.

“We live in an era where people can shop, bank and pay bills online – it’s about time we look at how routine court matters can be handled more efficiently to bring justice up to speed,” Ms Collins says. 

“This Bill will improve the transparency of court and judicial processes and enhance public trust and confidence in the justice system.”

Ms Collins says the Bill will help build a more accessible justice system by requiring written court judgments to be published online, unless there is a good reason not to.

The Bill also proposes:

  • allowing for electronic court processes (where this is not legally possible now) to help people receive better service from, and better understand the court system
  • requiring the Judiciary to publish information on the numbers of outstanding judgments beyond a reasonable time and how a party can obtain information about a reserved judgment
  • increasing courts’ options to limit litigation by people with a history of taking meritless proceedings
  • extending the District Court’s jurisdiction to allow it to deal with civil cases where the amount in dispute is up to $350,000, rather than the current threshold of $200,000
  • establishing a specialist panel of judges, from which judges can be assigned to hear commercial cases in the High Court

The Bill has been referred to the Justice and Electoral Select Committee for consideration and public feedback.