The Courthouse Committee monitors and provides advice on significant issues affecting courthouses throughout the country, including courthouse design, access, safety, security and the efficient use and management of courthouses, bearing in mind the needs of all court users.
The Courthouse Committee was established by the Law Society Board in 2007 in response to a range of courthouse issues practitioners and other court users were facing at the time. The Board updated the committee’s remit in late 2012 to reflect the breadth of courthouse issues the committee deals with. The committee is now tasked with monitoring and providing a coordinated national response to issues such as court closures/restructuring, modernisation and technology initiatives, and court security.
The committee is connected to local networks of practitioners and court users across New Zealand, and liaises with the Minister for Courts, the Ministry of Justice and the judiciary on courthouse issues.
Mark Wilton, the convenor of the Courthouse Committee, is the National Legal Counsel for the Police Prosecution Service and is based at Police National Headquarters in Wellington.
Mark is a long-serving member of the Courthouse Committee and has been actively involved in a number of key committee projects, including the Law Society’s response to courthouse closures for seismic/earthquake related issues, and its input into the development of the Hutt Valley District Court. Mark provides advice on design, access, security and other practical issues. Mark also sits as a Law Society representative on the Ministry of Justice-led Courthouse Design Committee.
Membership of the Courthouse Committee is made up of experienced practitioners from around New Zealand:
- Maria Hamilton (Hawke's Bay)
- Iain Hutcheson (Auckland)
- Prue McGuire (Rotorua)
- Leona McWilliam (Wellington)
- Craig Ruane (Christchurch)
- Kingi Snelgar (Auckland)
- Max Winders (Dunedin)
NZLS contact: Emily Sutton, Law Reform Adviser
DX SP20202 or PO Box 5041, Wellington 6145
The Courthouse committee has recently been busy liaising with court staff to secure appropriate facilities for lawyers in new and refurbished courthouses around the country. The committee has assisted the Law Society in liaising with the Minister of Justice about the longer-term solutions for temporary courthouses in Oamaru and Dunedin. It has also provided input into the Courthouse Design Committee’s review of the Courthouse Design Standards.
The committee has kept a watching brief on technology in courts, including wi-fi and audio-visual links (AVL). In addition, it has been instrumental in obtaining confirmation of the Ministry’s policy on admission ceremonies in smaller regional centres.
Last updated on the 12th February 2019