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Supreme Court to get a new home

Hon Rick Barker
Minister for Courts
Minister of Civil Defence
Minister of Internal Affairs
Minister of Veterans' Affairs

28 April 2006
Media Release

Supreme Court to get a new home

Minister for Courts Rick Barker today announced that Cabinet has selected a high level design concept for the construction of a permanent home for the Supreme Court.

“This is an important development in the continued strengthening of New Zealand's national identity with the creation of a permanent home for the Highest Court in the land.

"Not only will we be housing the most senior judicial officers in New Zealand but we are building a structure in which people will look to in future with pride. Buildings such as the Old Government Building and Parliament themselves give New Zealanders something to identify as their own, and so too with the new Supreme Court," said Mr Barker

The design concept is based on developing the Supreme Court premises on the vacant land currently used as a park adjacent to the existing Old High Court building. The concept involves the construction of a new low-rise building to house the Supreme Court and the full restoration of the Old High Court building with a link between the two buildings

The Supreme Court will have available to it, some of the Old High Court building for permanent use and may use from time to time the number one court room as appropriate with other areas and the number one court room for use by other jurisdictions. The new building will be surrounded by landscaped grounds for use by members of the public and visitors to the court.

“It is important to appreciate that this is a concept only, selected from a range prepared by the Ministry of Justice and presented to Cabinet. The next stage will involve the preparation of a specific design and high level plans,” said Mr Barker.

All proposed design concepts were arrived at after consultation with interested parties. The concept selected by Cabinet incorporates matters of importance to groups including the Judiciary, the Historic Places Trust, the Ministry of Culture and Heritage and the Ministry for the Environment.

“The Ministry of Justice will now work on the development of this design concept into a design option or options. The detailed design options will be presented to Cabinet for consideration by 31 August 2006. We cannot talk about cost at this stage until a final design option has been selected. At that point we will be able to discuss what the completed building is expected to look like and how much the total project is expected to cost,” said Mr Barker.

The Supreme Court which is now New Zealand’s highest court has replaced the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council located in London and came into being on 1 January 2004, with hearings commencing on 1 July 2004. The Supreme Court has operated from temporary premises in the High Court in Wellington since 2004.


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