The total number of appeals and applications filed in the Environment Court appear to have stabilised over recent years to a level the Court can manage efficiently and maintain clearance rates that prevent unnecessary delay, Registrar Harry Johnson says.
The Report of the Registrar of the Environment Court for the year to 30 June 2017 has been tabled in Parliament.
It shows that a total of 485 matters were filed in the reporting year, with 453 disposed. This was a clearance rate of 93%.
Cases filed and disposed in Environment Court, year to 30 June
|Misc||Total Filed||Total Disposed|
The volume of resource consent appeals is closely linked to the volume of notified applications being processed by local authorities, and plan appeal numbers fluctuate as planning instruments undergo change.
The report says that while case numbers are an indicator of the demand placed on court resources, they are not the only indicator. Other factors such as case size, number of parties/topics and complexity influence the level of judicial intervention through case management, mediation, expert witness conferencing and ultimately any hearing that may be required.
At 30 June 2017, there were 207 plan appeals outstanding and 80 resource consent appeals outstanding.
The report says section 268 of the Resource Management Act 1991 empowers the Environment Court to arrange mediation and other forms of alternate dispute resolution. It says the Court actively encourages this "and consequently the majority of cases will undergo mediation".
Court-annexed mediation volumes and outcomes, year to 30 June
|Total mediation events||244||232||164|
|Agreement reached in full||103||69||63|
|Agreement reached in part||65||84||49|
|Agreement not reached||48||53||42|