New Zealand Law Society - Some District Court decisions now available online

Some District Court decisions now available online

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A new website,, has been launched to publish judicial decisions from New Zealand's District Courts.

image of Court bench  

The website is an initiative of the Office of the Chief District Court Judge and will publish a range of decisions from the District Courts' criminal, family, youth and civil jurisdictions.

Chief Judge Jan-Marie Doogue says a publications unit working under an editorial board of senior judges will select for publication decisions considered of high public or legal interest and which meet criteria for publication.

She says this calendar year, the website expects to publish about 2,500 decisions, rising to about 4,000 in 2017.

About 200,000 criminal, family, youth and civil matters come before the District Courts each year, with 160 judges making about 25,000 decisions, sentences or orders.

Chief Judge Doogue says the large volumes of cases in the District Courts mean that not all decisions can be published.

Criteria for publication in the criminal jurisdiction include sentencing notes and reserved decisions in judge-along trials in cases of more serious offending, or cases where there has been discussion of high-level principles.

In the civil jurisdiction the aim is to publish all reserved judgments and costs awards, injunction decisions, judgments discussion interpretation of the District Courts Rules, appeals from tribunals, and decisions related to professional bodies.

Selection criteria in the Family Court will differ depending on the legislation that proceedings are brought under. While criteria of public or legal interest will apply in the Youth Court, there will also be emphasis on points of law on which there is little or no previous authority.

All decisions resulting from proceedings brought under the Harmful Digital Communications Act 2015 will be published automatically because this is a requirement of that legislation.

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