New Zealand Law Society - Change to High Court civil case document filing sought

Change to High Court civil case document filing sought

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The Chief High Court Judge, Justice Geoffrey Venning, is requesting lawyers to provide High Court registries with electronic copies of most civil jurisdiction documents filed in hard copy.

"I encourage counsel to immediately adopt the practice of filing an electronic copy as well as filing the hard copy," he says in a letter to New Zealand Law Society President Tiana Epati.

Justice Venning says the Ministry of Justice is rolling out a document management system. He says while it does not currently replace the need to file documents in hard copy, "and of course the High Court Rules still require documents to be filed in hard copy", it is a step towards the introduction of an integrated case management system in the High Court.

"To date all criminal documents and some civil cases (such as Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act applications) have been stored  on  the  document  management system. The next step is to store most civil cases' materials electronically," he says.

"To support the use of this document management system, counsel are asked to provide the registry with electronic copies of documents filed in hard copy for all civil matters except probates. Many counsel already do this and it would be very helpful if it became normal practice across the profession."

Provision of electronic copies of documents to the registry

Justice Venning says the documents should either be sent to the appropriate High Court registry email address, or directly to the case officer, as appropriate.

"Subject to the next paragraphs, electronic documents  should  be provided  in PDF  format via email.

"There are two exceptions to the request to file electronic copies as well as hard copy:

  • Large files (+l00MB). These cannot be stored electronically and should continue to be filed only in hard copy.
  • Probate  applications  and related documents. It is not intended to store these electronically.

Justice Venning says the filing of electronic casebooks should continue to be by a USB drive as per [9.l(a)] of the Senior Courts Civil Electronic Document Filing Protocol 2019.