Tuning the courts

Our justice system has been improved and is now easier for New Zealanders to use, Associate Justice Minister Mark Mitchell says.

“The Judicature Modernisation Bill is an important law reform that helps modernise our courts, with most of the changes coming into effect today,” Mr Mitchell says.

“Courts are a fundamental part of the justice system, and these changes will help provide a better service for witnesses, court staff, defendants, and our communities who use the courts.

“The changes focus on creating a more people-centred justice system by making it easier to understand and more efficient for people to use.”

One of the most significant improvements is combining the District Courts throughout the country to form the New Zealand District Court.

“This will make it the largest court in Australasia, spanning across 58 court sites and hearing more than 200,000 cases a year. The District Court can now hear cases worth up to $350,000, up from $200,000,” Mr Mitchell says.

“The reform also includes steps to enable the digitisation of court processes. For example, defendants can now appear by audio-visual links for criminal procedural appearances.

“This means fewer defendants will be transported from secure facilities to appear in court, increasing efficiency and improving the safety of witnesses and court staff.”

Other changes include giving judges a wider range of options to respond to meritless civil proceedings…

That last one is seriously overdue. ?Each and every case I am currently defending is based on a meritless civil proceeding. ??The courts have been weaponised by civil litigants that know their way around procedure. ? It’s driving the judges nuts, because they have had no choice but to do their jobs.

The notion that judges have the freedom to throw out vexatious, vacuous and poorly prepared cases early on is sadly not backed by reality. ? It’s only the truly insane ones that have been turfed out. ?Like when Graham McCready wanted to use the Wolf of Wallstreet as?evidence.

No doubt the changes won’t go far enough for someone like me who is embroiled in money, time and life stealing procedure just because people keep filing pieces of paper in a court. ?But at least the worst of it may now be stopped.