Legislation which comes into force on 1 March 2017 will create Australasia's largest single court.
The District Court Act 2016 repeals the District Courts Act 1947, and creates a single District Court from the 58 individual district courts. The court will hear over 200,000 criminal, family and civil matters each year.
The change is one of a number introduced by the mammoth Judicature Modernisation Bill, which was split into five new Acts and amendments to 18 other Acts. It is the first major overhaul of the legislation governing New Zealand's courts since 1908.
The District Court locations will remain and lawyers will still be required to file papers at the location hearing the matter. The new law means the District Court can hear higher value civil disputes. It has a new monetary threshold of $350,000 (up from $200,000). The new minimum threshold to transfer civil proceedings to the HIgh Court is $90,000.
The other new legislation which comes into force on 1 March is the Senior Courts Act 2016, the Judicial Review Procedure Act 2016, and the Electronic Courts and Tribunals Act 2016. The Interest on Money Claims Act 2016 will come into force on 1 January 2018.
Four Acts will be repealed as of 1 March, with many of their provisions carried into the new Acts: the Supreme Court Act 2003, the District Courts Act 1947, the Judicature Act 1908, and the Judicature Amendment Act 1972.