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Bills to modernise courts and tribunals passes

Bills to modernise courts and tribunals passes

Associate Minister of Justice and for Courts Aupito William Sio is delighted to see both the Courts Matters Bill and the Tribunals Powers and Procedures Legislation Bill pass into law this evening.

“These Bills create a host of changes which will help provide New Zealanders with a more modern, fair and effective justice system,” says Aupito William Sio.

Both the Courts Matters Bill and the Tribunals Powers and Procedures Legislation Bill put in place a legislative framework that helps enable courts and tribunals to provide a more modern, customer centred service.

“A significant change made by this Government is addressing the unacceptable backlog of cases that has grown in recent years at the Human Rights Review Tribunal. The change allows for the appointment of deputy chairpersons, which will aim to reduce the backlog of cases, providing people with more certainty and timelier access to justice.

“The legislation will also help the courts and tribunals to provide better customer protection and redress, improve New Zealanders’ access to justice, and will enable the Ministry of Justice to provide safer courts and tribunal buildings.

Some of the changes include:
• enabling the appointment of deputy chairpersons to the Human Rights Review Tribunal and making procedural changes that will help to reduce the case backlog that has developed in recent years;
• allowing the Legal Complaints Review Officer to dismiss unmeritorious claims and to decide more matters on the papers to help reduce the case backlog;
• modernising and aligning the powers and procedures of 21 tribunals the Ministry of Justice supports, making it easier for people to resolve issues and to move on with their lives;
• extending the powers of Court Security Officers to deny entry to, and to remove and detain disruptive individuals in court and tribunal buildings;
• making it easier for people who can’t afford to pay their fines to set up arrangements to pay in affordable instalments;
• changing criminal and family court procedures to improve effectiveness and timeliness
• allowing Police on the side of the road to issue Driver License Stop Orders;
• increasing the financial threshold for the Disputes Tribunal from $15,000 to $30,000 so more disputes can be resolved in a less expensive, simple and quick manner;
• giving the Real Estate Agents Disciplinary Tribunal the power to award compensation of up to $100,000 for financial losses.

Most amendments will come into effect immediately while the remaining amendments will be brought into effect by mid-2020.
“These bills will enable New Zealand laws to operate more effectively, by allowing courts and tribunals to make better use of 21st century technology and reduce the time it takes to hear and resolve matters,” says Aupito William Sio.

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