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Higher proportion of High Court civil cases go to trial

13 June 2019

A higher proportion of civil cases when to trial in the HIgh Court over calendar 2018, Chief High Court Judge Geoffrey Venning says.

Justice Venning has released The Year in Review, a report on events in the High Court - Te Kōti Matua o Aotearoa during 2018.

He says the Court delivered 3,457 judgments in 2018.

"The Court has set a standard of 90% of civil judgments delivered within three months of the hearing or last submissions. In 2018 the actual result was 91.4%," he says.

Justice Venning says the High Court reports twice yearly on “judgments outstanding beyond a reasonable time” as required by section 170 of the Senior Courts Act 2016.

"In the absence of extenuating circumstances, the Court considers judgments over six months old to be delayed beyond a reasonable time. The 31 March 2018 figures showed eight judgments then outstanding beyond a reasonable time. A further nine had become outstanding beyond a reasonable time but had been delivered by 31 March. The 30 September 2018 figures showed four judgments then outstanding beyond a reasonable time. A further ten had become outstanding beyond a reasonable time but had been delivered by 30 September."

he says there were 139 criminal cases on hand at 31 December 2018 compared to 130 at the same time in 2017. These numbers include cases awaiting sentence.

"There were 177 new cases, one less than 2017. A feature of these cases is there was a greater proportion of category four cases. Fewer protocol cases have been ordered to be heard in the High Court as a consequence."

Looking ahead, Justice Venning says various property projects will be undertaken during 2019.

"In the Auckland High Court works will begin on a staged project to enable the Court of Appeal to have hearings in that building. The Court of Appeal will be located in the historic part of the building and a new civil courtroom will be created in the lower ground area in the area previously occupied by the criminal registry team.

"Courtroom facilities in the Bay of Plenty remain stretched. Planning to provide for an extra courtroom in the Rotorua courthouse will progress. High Court criminal trials from Tauranga are also heard there.

"The ground floor refurbishment of the Wellington High Court building and Molesworth St frontage will be completed allowing full time security scanning to begin."

Last updated on the 16th September 2019