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Court overhaul will bring justice up to speed

Court overhaul will bring justice up to speed

Justice Minister Judith Collins has outlined further proposals to modernise and bring New Zealand’s courts into the 21st Century.

Following the Government’s response to the Law Commission’s review of the Judicature Act 1908 earlier this year, the proposals aim to improve the flexibility, responsiveness and transparency of New Zealand’s court system.

“Our court system is one of the last areas of the public sector still operating a paper-based model,” Ms Collins says.

“We live in an era where people can shop, bank and pay bills online – it’s about time we look at how routine court matters can be handled more efficiently to bring justice up to speed.”

As part of the proposed changes, Ms Collins intends to work with the judiciary to get all written judgments published online, unless there is good reason not to, and to provide more information on the delivery of reserved judgments.

“New Zealanders are paying for this justice; they should be able to access it. People also have a right to know about judgments that remain outstanding beyond a reasonable time for delivery,” Ms Collins says.

The proposals would also see greater use of audio-visual link technology by creating a presumption it will be used in criminal procedural matters in which evidence is not going to be called.

Ms Collins says AVL allows prisoners to appear before a judge without leaving the secure confines of prison grounds. Greater use of AVL would reduce the risks associated with transporting prisoners to court.

“New Zealand is experiencing the lowest crime rate in 30 years and we now have a unique opportunity to work differently,” Ms Collins says.

“We must renew our focus on the underlying causes of crime and crime prevention, modernise and improve our operating model, and build a more customer-focused, lower cost and more accessible justice system.”

Ms Collins intends to introduce legislation to implement the proposed changes later this year.


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