The latest information on the Law Society's response to COVID-19, and New Zealand's response to COVID-19.
New Zealand is no longer operating under the traffic light system as of 13 September 2022.
As New Zealand has recently moved to the Orange setting in the traffic light framework, our policy for access to premises and contracted event venues has also been updated accordingly.
Please note that vaccine passes will no longer be required at Law Society offices, premises and events.
The position of the New Zealand Law Society | Te Kāhui Ture o Aotearoa (Law Society) regarding our COVID-19 response for people who access Law Society Services. This policy is to establish and communicate the position.
Read our COVID-19 Response Access to Premises and Contracted Events Venues Policy.
The Chief High Court and Chief District Court Judges have released updated guidelines for the conduct of jury trials in the High Court and District Court, with effect from Monday 7 March 2022.
For information on these guidelines, read the full statement.
The Chief Justice has published a statement on court operations at phase 3 of the Red setting of the COVID-19 Protection Framework.
The statement outlines how courts will continue to deal with such work as they are able to; the conditions for entry into the courts; rapid antigen testing; and continuing public health measures.
Read the full statement.
With the rapidly increasing prevalence of Covid-19 in our communities, Ara Poutama Aotearoa has had to impose restrictions on in person visits to their sites.
The Chief Judges of the High and District Courts, Justice Thomas and Judge Taumaunu raised concerns on behalf of the Judiciary and legal profession that restricting in person visits for counsel may have a negative impact on the preparation for some trials.
As such, Ara Poutama Aotearoa has made some amendments to their processes to improve access to clients for assigned counsel. At a high level and at present, Ara Poutama Aotearoa's processes for contact with clients prior to trial are phone contact, audio-visual link and in person visits.
For information on these processes, read the full media statement.
The Ministry of Justice has compiled a list of answers to the questions raised by the profession regarding court operations.
Download the FAQs
The Chief Justice has published revised protocols for the operation of the Courts of New Zealand. The protocols have been adjusted to allow for an extended period in the Red traffic light setting, following the Government's announcement of its three-phased public health response to the Omicron variant on 26 January 2022.
Read the revised protocols on the Courts of NZ website.
Read the Chief Justice's statement.
COVID-19 related queries
For COVID-19 queries related to the legal profession please email:
Please refer to the guidance for lawyers section below for further information on these updates.
All current court operating protocols are available on the Courts of NZ website.
Mask wearing: mask wearing is no longer mandatory in court buildings. However, in some situations, including jury trials, court participants may be required to wear masks at the direction of a presiding judge or judicial officer.
COVID-19 testing requirements: any person with symptoms of COVID-19, however minor, must take a rapid antigen test before attending court. The protocols set out the circumstances in which a person with symptoms who tests negative may be able to attend court, and the safeguards that will apply in those circumstances.
Updated guidelines for the conduct of jury trials in the High Court and District Court, also took effect from Tuesday 13 September 2022, and can be viewed here.
Updated information and guidance for parents and lawyers can be found on the Ministry of Justice website.
See the LINZ website for updated information about its services during the current Covid-19 Alert Level restrictions.
LINZ has developed an interim guideline – LINZ OP G 01247 - to assist practitioners who are, for the time being, unable to interact with their clients other than by remote means of communication.
ANZ has released guidance for lawyers, outlining what the bank’s requirements are for Alert Levels 4 and 3.
A free webinar (from March 2020) is available on the CLE website covering property matters during lockdown. This was a Q and A session with the former Chair of the Property Law Section Duncan Terris and the Registrar General of Land Robbie Muir.
Read the Ministry’s guidance for lawyers on property sales and settlements during Covid-19.
The government made Immediate Modification Orders to the Oaths and Declarations Act 1957, the Wills Act 2007 and the Protection of Personal and Property Rights Act 1988 (Enduring Powers of Attorney) in response to the restrictions of COVID-19. These still apply.
Read the advice on the Ministry of Justice website, download an opinion and download a template certificate.
The legislation can be found here:
Epidemic Preparedness (Oaths and Declarations Act 1957) Immediate Modification Order 2020
Epidemic Preparedness (Wills Act 2007—Signing and Witnessing of Wills) Immediate Modification Order 2020
Epidemic Preparedness (Protection of Personal and Property Rights Act 1988—Enduring Powers of Attorney) Immediate Modification Order 2020
The Chief Judge of the Employment Court has issued a revised COVID-19 Protocol for Employment Court operations.
The Employment Relations Authority has issued an update which sets out arrangements the Authority has made to deal with applications and investigations as part of the Covid-19 response from 13 September 2022.
The Legal Community Counselling Service provides the option for counselling via phone or videolink as well as face to face.
The Law Society’s Practising Well initiative provides access to other support and resources for lawyers.
Ministry of Health guidelines on managing your mental health are on the Ministry of Health website.
For support with grief, anxiety, distress or mental wellbeing, you can also call or text 1737 to talk with a trained counsellor for free, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Now also might be the time to consider mentoring. Our Mentoring Programme uses an online platform called MentorLoop, which matches mentors and mentees based on their profiles.
The Programme is free to join, to get started:
For COVID-19 health advice and information, contact the Ministry of Health’s Healthline team (for free) on 0800 358 5453 or +64 9 358 5453 for international SIMS.
If you have any other questions or concerns, please email email@example.com
This page will be updated with any further advice for lawyers.