With the upcoming changes to the family justice system due to come into effect there have been a number of queries regarding the transition of existing cases where a judicial conference has been scheduled.
Any COCA applications filed before 31 March 2014 that have a judicial conference set down will continue as scheduled. At the start of that conference the judge will direct that it proceed as a directions conference. Counsel should be aware that they should be prepared to make submissions with reference to the requirements in Rules 416Z and 416ZA. At this conference the proceedings will be assigned by the judge to the appropriate track under the new rules.
Any COCA application filed but not set down for a judicial event will be transitioned and scheduled to a new track by the registrar as soon as possible.
If urgent matters, such as immediate safety concerns, are identified a case will be referred directly to a judge in chambers for appropriate direction, as happens now.
Lawyers should have received case allocation guidelines providing more detail on the transition of cases. Those yet to receive these should contact the New Zealand Law Society, the New Zealand Bar Association or ADLS Inc.