Bill updates 108-year courts legislation

  • Amy Adams
Justice Courts

Parliament has passed legislation tonight that updates and modernises the century-old law underpinning New Zealand courts.

Twenty-three Bills divided from the Bill formerly known as the Judicature Modernisation Bill were passed into law with widespread support.

“At more than 1000 pages, the legislation was one of the biggest law-making tasks ever undertaken by Parliament,” says Justice and Courts Minister Amy Adams.

“New Zealand has a strong and independent justice system that serves us well, but its legislation needs to be more accessible and better supported by modern technology,” says Ms Adams.

“The changes we’re making are part of the Government’s commitment to providing courts that are modern and accessible for New Zealanders.”

The legislation includes five new Acts and 18 amendment Acts. It also introduces important new provisions.

Key features of the legislation include:

  • Increasing the transparency of courts. For example, judges will be required to publish information about reserved judgments
  • Giving courts a greater range of powers to deal with meritless proceedings to prevent time-wasting
  • Creating a single District Court of New Zealand from 58 district courts
  • Increasing the monetary threshold of the District Court from $200,000 to $350,000, allowing it to hear higher value civil disputes. This is the first change in the limit since 1992
  • Allowing courts and tribunals to adopt modern practices, such as digital documents and electronic case files.

“The new legislation will serve our courts and New Zealanders well for another century,” says Ms Adams.