We are working with the judiciary and our justice sector colleagues to help make sure New Zealand is a safe and just society.

The Ministry of Justice does this by delivering modern, accessible, people-centred justice services to the people of New Zealand.

Video of why justice is important

New Zealand's justice and legal system protects individual rights and freedoms, sets out what is unacceptable and the penalties for breaking the law, and enforces the rules around how our country is governed.

The Ministry strives to achieve 3 outcomes:

  • Safer communities
  • Increased trust in the justice system
  • Maintain the integrity of our constitutional arrangements

The Ministry is the only agency in New Zealand's public sector that works across all 3 arms of government: we work for the executive and the legislature, and we also support the independent judiciary.

We have more than 3000 people who work in 120 locations around the country delivering justice services.

What we do

The Ministry provides a range of justice services around New Zealand.

  • We work with the judiciary to deliver court services for the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, High Court, 58 District Courts, Coroners Court, Environment Court, Employment Court and Maori Land Court.
  • We support 29 tribunals, authorities and committees that help New Zealanders resolve disputes.
  • We negotiate historical Treaty of Waitangi claims, building positive and durable settlements between the Crown and Māori.
  • We administer the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act.
  • We provide legal help to people charged with criminal offences through the Public Defence Service, the largest criminal law practice in New Zealand.
  • We administer the Legal Aid system which pays for legal help for people who can’t afford a lawyer.
  • We work with others to reduce crime and reoffending.
  • We develop justice policy and provide advice to Ministers and Cabinet, which helps address a range of issues such as supporting victims, holding offenders to account and supporting human rights.
  • We lead the justice sector (which is made up of the Ministry of Justice, New Zealand Police, the Department of Corrections, the Crown Law Office, the Serious Fraud Office), who work together to reduce crime and reoffending.
  • We collect court-ordered fines.
  • We provide 450,000 criminal conviction history checks each year, helping employers make informed decisions.
  • We manage more than 150 pieces of legislation, including the Official Information Act.

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