New Zealand Law Society - Return to work processes: Ministry of Justice and the Courts of New Zealand

Return to work processes: Ministry of Justice and the Courts of New Zealand

If you are critical part of the Justice Sector, such as being involved in priority court proceedings that are unable to be undertaken remotely, you may be able to register for the close contact exemption scheme. Please see below for details about the requirements and eligibility. 

To ensure critical services can continue to function during Phases Two and Three of the Omicron response, critical workers who are close contacts of a COVID-19 case can continue to work outside their place of residence, under the Close Contact Exemption Scheme (CCES), as long as they:

  • are fully vaccinated and asymptomatic
  • fall under the ‘critical services’ category
  • return a negative rapid antigen test (RAT) prior to each day/shift they are at work during the isolation period, and
  • follow specific health protocols.

The Ministry of Justice, and in particular the Courts of New Zealand, are a critical service. Individuals who are identified as critical will be eligible for the CCES, though it is not mandatory for individuals to participate in the scheme. For the Courts, this includes critical court staff, judicial officers, members of the legal profession and any other party or participant that must be onsite to maintain services.

If you are a close contact of someone who returns a positive COVID-19 test:

  • see if someone is able to cover for you
  • if you are attending court for a non-essential event – contact the court to request remote participation, or adjournment of the event
  • if you are attending court for an essential event – contact the Judge to make them aware of the situation and request a remote event if appropriate:
    • If the Judge wishes to proceed, you will need to get tested as part of the CCES scheme.
    • You can access a RAT kit by registering with the Ministry of Health as a critical worker, or through a Ministry of Justice site providing a letter to allow collection of a kit from a District Health Board (DHB) collection hub - COVID-19 Testing • Healthpoint

If you become symptomatic at any time during the scheme, you must immediately isolate and get a PCR test.

Find out more about the criteria for the CCES and models for collection of RAT kits on the Ministry of Health website here.