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Courts benefiting from videoconferencing tech

Hon Rick Barker
Minister for Courts

14 September 2006
Media Release

Courts benefiting from videoconferencing technology

Courts Minister Rick Barker today officially launched the extension of videoconferencing in courts.

"Extending the use of videoconferencing will increase the public's access to justice and save judicial and staff resources," said Rick Barker.

"As a result of the Judicature Amendment Act 2006, videoconferencing can now be used for specific civil jurisdiction work involving Associate Judges.

"As some civil work in provincial areas can now be done via video link hearings can be held as required rather than when a judge is able to travel. This will result in improved and more efficient services for provincial communities.

"Another advantage is that Associate Judges will no longer need to travel to remote areas for a hearing that may only last for a short time, for instance half an hour, or which may be cancelled or deferred at the last minute.

"Videoconferencing has also commenced for a limited range of hearings in the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court.

"One example is applications for leave to appeal. At the moment parties have to travel to the Court of Appeal in Wellington. Videoconferencing means they can now 'beam in' to Wellington from a High Court registry, saving time and money.

"Up until now the use of videoconferencing has been minimal, only being used for remote expert witnesses. Today's launch takes this technology to the next level.

"Videoconferencing is another example of the substantial investment this Government has made in IT in New Zealand courts. As well as videoconferencing, we're introducing digital audio technology to 44 courts, launched Judicial Decisions Online and Maori Land Online, and posting daily court lists for Higher Courts electronically.

"The public can look forward to ongoing significant improvements in our court system as a result of these investments," said Rick Barker.

Videoconferencing technology has been installed in court sites in Auckland (High Court), Christchurch, Greymouth, Invercargill and Wellington (Court of Appeal and Supreme Court). Decisions on whether to install videoconferencing in other courts will be made following an evaluation on the technology.

ENDS

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