New Zealand Law Society - Electronic casebooks for Court of Appeal criminal appeals

Electronic casebooks for Court of Appeal criminal appeals

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The Court of Appeal has introduced a new process for criminal appeals and applications for leave to appeal.

The Court of Appeal Registry will now provide counsel with casebooks in electronic form rather than in hard copy, and counsel are encouraged to file their submissions and bundles of authorities in electronic form.

An electronic casebook protocol has been developed to explain how electronic documents will be used in court.

Casebooks are prepared in searchable PDF format. The PDF versions will contain all the material that would be included in the hard copy of the document and will share the same pagination. Judges will view electronic documents in court on iPads or PCs. The protocol also explains the process that the registry follows for compiling and indexing electronic documents and sets out how electronic submissions and bundles of authorities should be presented.

The court believes that counsel will find it more convenient to work with electronic documents. However their use is not mandatory. Counsel who prefer paper may print a copy of the casebook for their own use and the court will not insist that counsel file submissions and authorities electronically.

Where counsel file electronically, they need not file four paper copies of documents. They must file one paper copy and one electronic copy, which must be searchable PDF. Counsel who do not file electronically must comply with the rules of the court regarding paper filings, including the prescribed number of copies.

The court expects that most counsel will agree to exchange submissions and authorities electronically. Opposing parties or counsel are entitled to service of paper copies of submissions and authorities, and counsel should bear in mind that some parties, notably self-represented parties who are in custody, may not have ready access to computers. The Registry will continue to provide self-represented parties with paper copies.

The protocol is at and will be provided to counsel when an appeal is filed.

The new process relates only to criminal appeals, in respect of which the court has responsibility to prepare the case on appeal. The court intends to introduce analogous processes for civil appeals later. Until it does so, counsel in civil appeals and applications for leave to appeal should continue to file all documents relating to the appeal or application in hard copy.

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