The High Court last year met its target to deliver 90% of judgments within three months of the hearing or final submissions, according to a report released this week by Chief High Court Judge Justice Geoffrey Venning.
However, the average "time to trial" for general proceedings increased on the previous year. The average disposal time for general proceedings disposed of by trial increased by 157 days (from 513 to 650 days), which Justice Venning says is "a result of the [High Court's] focus on disposing of old files".
A general reduction in the number of trials held can be attributed to the fact that recent years have seen fewer filings, Justice Venning says. Applications for summary judgment also continue to drop, reflecting "a more buyout economy" and amendments to the District Court Rules that permitted summary judgment as of right in that court's jurisdiction.
His Honour says judicial caseloads have remained steady, with cases on the Christchurch Earthquake List now reaching settlement "at a very high rate".
The High Court continues to sit in 18 locations, and is comprised of 39 judges (two more than in 2014) and seven associate judges.