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Initiatives to improve court services in Auckland

Hon Rick Barker
Minister for Courts

24 June 2008
Media Statement

Initiatives to improve court services in Auckland

Courts Minister Rick Barker today announced details of the initiatives that the government will be focusing on in order to improve the future delivery of court services in Auckland. The comments came during a speech to mark the opening of a new Jury Assembly Area and Criminal Registry in the Auckland High Court.

"Auckland currently accounts for 35 percent of reported crime and 30 percent of all District Court jury trials. The Auckland Service Delivery Programme aims to address these workload pressures through a long-term strategy for service delivery in the region," Mr Barker said.

"The government is committed to delivering first class court services in the nation's largest city and timely access to justice for all New Zealanders. Budget 2008 provided $6.3 million for detailed design and planning around the Auckland Service Delivery Programme and will help ensure we can deliver improved justice services to the region’s growing population."

The Programme has identified a number of opportunities for improving service delivery through more specialised services and facilities, such as:

• 24/7 assistance through service centres handling high-volume enquiries, correspondence, and applications
• dedicated civil and family courthouses
• purpose-built jury-trial courthouses
• progressive expansion of electronic filing. Including further work to determine whether electronic filing will be expanded to the criminal summary area and the Environment Court.

"This model would improve access to services by better meeting forecast demand, and improve safety by physically separating civil and criminal matters," Mr Barker said.

"The Auckland Service Delivery Programme will also explore the possibility of establishing a Community Justice Centre in South Auckland to ensure greater community involvement, and broader services including social services are more available to address background factors, in lower-level criminal offending."

The refurbished Jury Assembly Area and Criminal Registry opened by Minister Barker today are part of an on-going programme to improve facilities for staff and court users.
The Jury Assembly Area will be used by up to 150 jurors at least every two weeks and can also be used for other purposes, such as training and victim support.

The refurbished Criminal Registry creates an improved work environment for all criminal registry staff.


ENDS

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