New Zealand Law Society - Survey finds high Court user satisfaction

Survey finds high Court user satisfaction

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A survey of court users in May 2017 found that overall satisfaction with services and facilities continues to be high, with 81% of respondents reporting that they were either satisfied or very satisfied.

The Ministry of Justice has released a summary of the 2017 Court User Survey. This was carried out by market researchers Colmar Brunton. It involved 2,044 face-to-face interviews with members of the public who visited one of eight selected courts.

The surveyed courts were Auckland, Manukau, North Shore, Hamilton, Tauranga, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin. It  is the fourth time the survey has been carried out (previous surveys were conducted in 2010, 2012, and 2014).

Of the respondents, 90% reported that they felt safe, and 90% had observed court security staff at the court entrance.

The survey found that the length of time waiting to be served at a counter in a court has increased from 2014. In 2017, 53% of court users were served immediately, 34% had to wait up until six minutes, and 13% longer than six minutes. Information for 2014 was not provided in the summary.

A high 90% of respondents found it easy to find where to go in the courthouse. Perceived ease of getting information has improved since 2014, the summary says, with this now sitting at 63% for "very" or "fairly" easy.

A majority (56%) of respondents were satisfied with the times that court hearings start and finish, and 42% said they would find evening hearings convenient.

When asked overall how satisfied or dissatisfied they were with the services and facilities provided, "eight out of ten continue to be satisfied with court services and facilities," the summary says. Satisfaction varied by the frequency and purpose of visit.

"The more highly satisfied are more likely to be less frequent visitors, older, in paid employment or retired, visiting to deal with a fine or reparation or attending a Youth Court case. Christchurch court users are also especially satisfied.

"Less satisfied court users are more likely to be frequent visitors, unemployed, accused of an offence, visiting for criminal/youth/traffic cases, and/or visiting to take part in a hearing or case."

Two-thirds - 67% - of respondents had contact with court staff on their visit, and 74% were satisfied with the overall quality of service delivery to some extent.