New Zealand Law Society - Rise in District Court jury trial caseload

Rise in District Court jury trial caseload

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District Court jury trial caseload is on the rise, Chief District Court Judge Jan-Marie Doogue says.

“This is particularly noticeable with a surge from September 2015 to March 2016, due to increases in new business,” Chief Judge Doogue says.

“There are currently 1,928 cases on hand, which is 213 or 12% more when compared to March 2014’s case numbers.

“The Auckland metropolitan courts have a combined caseload of 603 cases, Auckland District Court with 302 and Manukau with 301. Hamilton has the third highest caseload with 191 cases.

“Incoming flows have increased over the last two years and are now at levels 26% beyond that of March 2014, up from 230 to 290 new cases per month. Outgoing flows have increased at a more gradual but lower rate than incoming flows. The result is an increase in caseload from September 2015 to March 2016.”

On average, over the last six months 54.3% of cases were resolved before trial. Overall, most case resolutions (58.7%) are by way of guilty pleas, either before trial (44.7%) or on the day (14%).

There are 63 cases, or 3.3% of the total caseload, aged over two years.

There are 431 cases, or 22.4% of the total caseload, over one year but less than two years.

There are 1,434 cases, or 74.3% of the total caseload, aged less than one year.

“The current caseload is much younger than when compared to March 2014, particularly those cases aged over two years – down from 129 cases in March 2014 to 63 in March 2016,” Chief Judge Doogue says.

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