We have received a letter from Judge Taumaunu updating the profession on changes to the District Court Protocol under Alert Level 4. Below is a copy of the letter. Since this was sent the updated protocol has been published on the Courts of New Zealand website.
Further to feedback received from the profession, I wish to advise that the District Court Protocols for Alert 4 has been updated to include additional work that may be undertaken. The additional work is intended to be undertaken by AVL or telephone link and is subject to the consent of counsel and is also subject to workforce capacity levels sufficient to support the work.
The additional work includes the following priority proceedings in the criminal jurisdiction;
- bringing forward and rescheduling custodial sentencing matters;
- hearing urgent bail variation applications;
- hearing of all pre-trial matters that are likely to be determinative; and
- any other matter considered by a Judge to warrant urgent judicial consideration or determination.
The additional work also includes other proceedings in all jurisdictions (Family, Youth, Criminal and Civil) that may be conducted by AVL or by telephone link involving a judge and counsel, provided that:
- the use of AVL or telephone link is lawful in the particular proceeding; and
- counsel consents; and
- it is determined by the judge to be otherwise appropriate for the matter to proceed in that manner, including for the attendance of parties (including the attendance of a defendant in a criminal proceeding) to be excused.
The Protocol will be published on the District Court and Courts of New Zealand websites later this evening.