The number of active cases on the Christchurch Earthquake Litigation List was 322 at 30 September 2019, down 42% on the 558 active cases on 30 September 2018.
Of the 322 cases, 23 are set down for trial while the rest are actively managed.
Chief High Court Judge Geoffrey Venning has released a report on the operation of the Christchurch Earthquake List at 30 September 2019.
The Earthquake List was set up in May 2012, to manage High Court litigation arising from the Christchurch earthquakes. The purpose of the Earthquake List is to deal with earthquake related cases as swiftly as the Court's resources permit.
Justice Venning says that since the List was established, 1318 earthquake-related proceedings have been filed and placed on the Earthquake List. He says the pattern of high filings, which was evident in 2016 to 2018, has not continued in 2019. Only 39 new proceedings have been added to the List since the last Earthquake Litigation List Report, at 30 September 2018.
While an average of 21 new proceedings were filed each month in the 2017/18 year, an average of just 3 new proceedings were filed each month in 2018/19.
"The decrease in new filings is principally related to the expiry of the extended limitation periods agreed to by a number of insurance companies. It is now over eight and a half years since the February 2011 earthquake. In addition, a limited number of claims are now being dealt with by the Greater Christchurch Claims Resolution Service and the Canterbury Earthquakes Insurance Tribunal," Justice Venning says.
He says that In the year to 30 September 2019, almost all disposals were by settlement (254 out of 275 total disposals – 92%), continuing the pattern of earlier years. Since the list began, 916 cases have been settled or discontinued by the parties.
Justice Venning notes that at 30 September 2019, 13 cases had been transferred from the High Court to the Canterbury Earthquakes Insurance Tribunal, which began operating on 1 July 2019.
"The Earthquake List has continued to function effectively during 2019. It is pleasing to see the increase in the number of resolutions during 2019 and the consequential reduction in the number of cases on hand," he says. "I once again recognise the commitment of the supervising Judges, the Judicial Support Adviser and the Christchurch registry team."