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Addressing Court Capacity in Auckland


Rick Barker

31 October, 2008
Addressing Court Capacity in Auckland

This week Minister for Courts Rick Barker announced details on the Ministry of Justice's Auckland Service Delivery Programme, and the Auckland District Court Upgrade Project.

The Programme aims to address workload pressures and capacity issues, and create a vision for the future delivery of services in Auckland. Currently 35% of reported crime in New Zealand occurs in Auckland.

"The Programme will reconfigure services for the Auckland region to ensure the provision of accessible and timely justice services," said Rick Barker.

Funding of $6.3 million was announced in the 2008 Budget and has enabled the Ministry of Justice to engage in detailed design and planning for this Programme. Key initiatives being explored include new facilities to support specialist courts and tribunals and civil and family work, a service centre for in-bound and out-bound calling and bulk processing, purpose built jury trial facilities and new technology to support court processes.

Expected benefits resulting from the Programme include faster justice, especially for victims and defendants in criminal matters as the capacity to meet forecast demand for court services for the next 15 years is delivered.

The Programme also aims to improve safety and security through more effective separation of the various parties attending court, including victims, jurors, and witnesses. More space will be provided for criminal matters at all major Auckland District Courts. This includes more cells allowing better segregation of young and vulnerable people in custody and improved facilities for victims, jurors, agencies and other court users.

A fundamental component of the plan is obtaining stable property solutions. Priorities are to obtain court precincts in Auckland Central, Manukau and Waitakere.

The Auckland District Court Upgrade Project commenced in September. The upgrade is targeted for completion in 2010 and is a component of the wider Auckland Service Delivery Programme.

Upgraded courtroom facilities will provide improved capacity and capability, and will improve users' experiences of Auckland District Court. Changes will include provision of a multi-defendant courtroom, three additional jury-capable courtrooms, two extra custody capable courtrooms, more court holding cells, secure witness facilities, additional space for victim advisors and technology upgrades.

Mr Barker said, "Action needs to be taken to increase capacity for the needs of court users now and into the future as Auckland grows. The funding to deliver the redevelopment of Auckland District Court, the lease of the Gen-i Tower and for land purchases in Manukau and Waitakere, are the first steps on a pathway forward."


ENDS

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