Breadcrumbs

Directory of Decisions


Courts

Coroners Court

Jurisdiction

The Coronial Service of New Zealand conducts investigations in order to identify the causes and circumstances of sudden and unexplained deaths, or deaths in special circumstances, and makes specified recommendations or comments.

Governing legislation

Coroners Act 2006

Contact details

See Coronial services contact page

Availability

Recommendations 2007-2010 available from the web site, and from 2010 onwards on NZLII.

Court of Appeal

Jurisdiction

Hears appeals from cases originally heard in the lower courts. In some instances lower courts may ask the Court of Appeal for an opinion on matters before them.

Governing legislation

Established as a permanent court in 1958 following the 1957 amendment to theJudicature Act 1908.

Contact details

Cnr Molesworth & Aitken StreetsCourt of Appeal of New ZealandDX SX11223WellingtonTel: 0800 268 787Overseas: +64 9 583 1900Email: courtofappeal@justice.govt.nz

Availability

Judicial Decisions Online (2003 onwards), searchable only; NZLII 1970 onwards.Case summaries are available from the the Courts of New Zealand website; supplied by Thompson Reuters Judgment Service (1986 onward).

Indexed by

BCLBriefCaseLINXTCL

Reported in

Decisions may be reported in a wide range of general or subject specific law reporter series'. 

District Courts

Jurisdiction

The base Court in the New Zealand Court hierarchy. The majority of civil and criminal cases commence in the District Courts. Civil and criminal jurisdiction of the District Courts is fully set out in the Act.

Governing legislation

Established by the District Courts Act 1947. This Act was formerly called the Magistrates' Courts Act 1947. The name was changed by an amendment act in 1979.

Contact details

See Location of New Zealand Courthouses on the Ministry's website for the addresses of each court.

Availability

Supplied by Courts or selected decisions can be obtained from Brookers Judgment Service

Indexed by

BCLBriefCaseLINX

Reported in

DCRFRNZELRNZMCD (1939 - 1979); MCR (1906 - 1952).

Note

Known as Magistrates' Courts prior to 1980.

Employment Court

Jurisdiction

Has jurisdiction over most employment law matters, including civil matters relating to employment contracts. Hears appeals from the Employment Relations Authority

Governing legislation

Employment Relations Act 2000

Contact details

See Employment Relations Service website

Availability

Judgments are available on the Court's website (mid-2006 onwards) and NZLII (2000 onwards). A list of recent cases is available from the Employment Institutions Information Centre together with online ordering facility. Supplied by the Employment Institutions Information CentreBrookers Judgment Service (from 1989).

Indexed by

BCLBriefCaseEmployment Cases SummaryLINXTCL

Reported in

ERNZHRNZNZELCNZILR (1987-1990); Judgments, etc. of the Arbitration Court of New Zealand (1979-1986); Judgments, etc. of the Industrial Court of New Zealand (1976-1978).

Note

Supersedes the Labour Court (1987-1991) and the Arbitration Court (1980-1987). Decisions of these are also available from the Employment Institutions Information Centre

Environment Court

Jurisdiction

Matters relating to land and water use and the activities of industry and public works. See Environment Court homepage

Governing legislation

Established under the Resource Management Act 1991, its jurisdiction is also governed by various other Acts.

Contact details

Contact information is found on the Environment Court website.

Availability

NZLII has Environment Court decisions 1996 onwards as well as those for the Planning Tribunal 1978-1996 Decisions are also available free from rma-net between the hours of 7.00pm and 9.00pm only for current University of Waikato students and staff . Please see Law Librarian or Law staff for ID and password. rma-net contains all Environment Court decisions released to date under the Resource Management Act 1991.

Indexed by

BCL; BriefCase; LINX- selected, from 2000 onwards; New Zealand Environmental Digest; Recent Decisions; Resource Management Handbook

Reported in

ELRNZ; NZRMA

Note

Formerly the Planning Tribunal

Family Court

Jurisdiction

A division of the District Courts. Has jurisdiction in relation to a number of Acts dealing with family law. Hearings are private and run in a less formal manner, by judges skilled in this sensitive area of law.

Governing legislation

Family Courts Act 1980

Contact details

See Family Court of New Zealand website

Availability

Decisions of the Family Court are often confidential and names may be suppressed. Persons wanting access to decisions that have not been released need to prove to the Court Registrar that they have a proper interest in the case: contact the District Court Decisions (2005 onwards), and Practice Notes are available from the Family Court website. Also available via Brookers Judgment Service (1989 onward).

Indexed by

BCL; BriefCase; LINX

Reported in

FRNZ; NZFLR

High Court

Jurisdiction

Given wide jurisdiction by s16 of the Judicature Act 1908 and many other Acts. Any case outside of the jurisdiction of the District Court may be commenced in the High Court. Hears appeals from the District Court and various other bodies.

Governing legislation

Established by the Judicature Act 1908

Contact details

See the Courts contact page and choose the court you want to contact.

Availability

NZLII (1847-1980 selected, comprehensive 1980 onwards); Judicial Decisions Online (2003 onwards)

Indexed by

BCLBriefCaseLINXTCL

Reported in

Decisions may be reported in a wide range of general or subject-specific Law Reports

Note

Called the Supreme Court prior to 1980.

Māori Appellate Court

Jurisdiction

Hears appeals from the Māori Land Court. Three or more judges from the Māori Land Court act as the Māori Appellate Court. See also the Māori Land Court website.

Governing legislation

Te Ture Whenua Māori Act 1993

Contact details

For the address of the eight district offices of the Māori Land Court see the Māori Land Court page

Availability

NZLII (selected 1962-1992, full 1993 onwards). Maori Appellate Court Decisions (1993 onwards).  Judgments can be ordered through Maori Land Court district of origin.

Indexed by

BriefCase ;  LINX (1986-1997)

Reported in

Māori Appellate Court DecisionsNZARTai Whati (1958-1985). Summary notes on selected decisions are available online in the Māori Law Review

Note

Originally established under the Māori Land Court Act 1894; its jurisdiction has been governed by a number of Acts since that time.

Māori Land Court

Jurisdiction

Deals with matters relating to land held under Māori Land title. Keeps records of ownership, title and encumbrances for Māori freehold land. See also the Māori Land Court website

Governing legislation

Te Ture Whenua Māori Act 1993; also has powers under various other Acts.

Contact details

For the addresses of the eight district offices see the Māori Land Court page.

Availability

NZLII ( selected cases 1993-2001, full coverage onwards). Available 2003 onwards from the Māori Land Court website. Judgments can also be ordered from the District office that dealt with the case.

Indexed by

BriefCase;Tai Whati(1958-1985)

Reported in

NZAR ; Tai Whati (1958-1985); Fenton's Important Judgments (1866-1879)

Summary notes on selected decisions are available online via the Māori Law Review.

Library holdings of unreported decisions

University of Waikato (Māori Land Court Minute Books (1865-1975 Aotea, Tai Tokerau, Takitimu, Tai Rawhiti, Tai Wai Pounamu, Waiariki and Waikato-Maniapoto courts); selected decisions of the Court; Tai Whati (1958-1985); University of Canterbury Library Tai Whati (1958-1985); New Zealand District Law Society Library - Canterbury Westland (1959-1969)

Note

Originated in the Native Lands Act 1862 but was formally established as the Native Land Court under the Native Lands Act 1865 (repealed 1873). One of its main functions was to register land held by Māori under customary title in title that was understood in English law. The jurisdiction of the Court has been governed by much legislation since this.

The main Acts include: Native Lands Act 1869 (repealed 1873);Native Lands Act 1866 (repealed 1867); Native Lands Act 1867 (repealed 1873); Native Lands Act 1873 (repealed 1886); Native Land Court Act 1880 , (repealed 1886); Native Land Court Act 1886 (repealed 1894) Native Land Administration Act 1886 (repealed 1888); Native Land Act 1888 (repealed 1894); Native Land Court Act 1894 (repealed 1909); Native Land Act 1909 (repealed 1931); Native Land Act 1931 (repealed 1954); Māori Affairs Act 1953 (repealed 1993); currently Te Ture Whenua Māori Act 1993.

Privy Council

Jurisdiction

Until 2004, the final appeal court for New Zealand cases; this role assumed as at 1 January 2004 by the Supreme Court of New Zealand.

Governing legislation

Jurisdiction was established in New Zealand by British statutes which are currently in force in this country via the Imperial Laws Application Act 1988. Relevant parts of this legislation were repealed, as from 1 January 2004, by the Supreme Court Act 2003.

Availability

Judgments since November 1996 available from the House of Lords website;  other sources with variable chronological coverage: BAILLI , Lexis & Thomson Reuters Westlaw databases.

Indexed by

BCL;BriefCase;LINX

Reported in

NZPCC (1840-1932).  Decisions may be reported in a wide range of general or subject-specific report series.

Note

The Privy Council was originally a group of advisers drawn from the King's Council, a body through which the monarch governed. Its power to hear cases arising in England was abolished in 1641, but it continues to have appellate jurisdiction in some former British colonies, hence its place in the New Zealand court system.

Supreme Court

Jurisdiction

Since January 2004, the final appeal court for New Zealand cases (prior to this see Privy Council). Hears appeals on decisions of the Court of Appeal.

Governing legislation

Supreme Court Act 2003

Contact details

Supreme Court of New Zealand Registry,

PO Box 61, Wellington

Tel: +64 4 918 8222

Fax: +64 4 914 3560

General enquiries:reception@justice.govt.nz

Availability

All Supreme Court decisions are available in full text through Judicial Decisions Online, the Ministry of Justice's searchable database; NZLII has decisions 2004 onwards. Selected case summaries are available from the Courts of New Zealand website.

Indexed by

BCL; BriefCase; LINX

Reported in

Decisions may be reported in a wide range of general or subject specific law reports

Library holdings of unreported decisions

Auckland, Wellington and Canterbury Law Society Libraries (2004 onward)

Youth Court

Jurisdiction

A division of the District Court, the Youth Court deals with offenders between the ages of 14 and 16 years of age, on all cases except murder and manslaughter, or when the offender elects to have a jury trial. Nevertheless, these cases are given a preliminary hearing in the Youth Court where the judge determines whether or not the case should go ahead.

Governing legislation

Children, Young Persons, and their Families Act 1989

Contact details

Chief Judges' Chambers,

PO Box 10-167,

Wellington

Tel: +64 4 914 3446

General enquiries: reception@justice.govt.nz

Availability

NZLII 2005 onwards

Indexed by

BriefCase;LINX

Reported in

FRNZ;NZFLR