Shortly after a National State of Emergency was declared today, our Chief Justice has clarified how Courts intend to operate under Alert Level 4 COVID-19. Each Court has released its own protocols providing helpful guidance for litigants which can be viewed on the Courts of New Zealand website.
The clear message is that:
- Courts are an Essential Service, which will continue in a limited capacity to ensure Priority Proceedings are dealt with;
- Case management and hearings for many civil court claims will be safely resumed when the Court so directs;
- Court appearances will be by AVL and teleconference where possible;
- New claims can still be filed but the Courts will introduce new and flexible filing methods to minimise person to person contact.
We anticipate that there will be further updates to come to deal with specific and novel situations arising - whether it be statutory time bars, swearing affidavits or arranging service of legal documents.
Currently we are drawing on our expertise with AV technology and paperless files to assist our clients with current and future claims in this evolving situation. In addition we are utilizing alternative dispute resolution options such as mediation by AVL for those who wish to maintain momentum with their claims.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.