2.4 District Courts

New Zealand's 59 District Courts deal with both criminal and civil proceedings, as well as matters from the Family Court and the Youth Court. The District Courts Act 1947 sets the jurisdiction of the District Courts.

In the criminal jurisdiction, the District Courts can conduct trials for all offences except for the most serious (such as murder and manslaughter), which must be transferred to the High Court following the defendant's first appearance in a District Court.

The District Court deals with criminal appeals from decisions made by justices of the peace and community magistrates. Appeals of District Court judges' decisions are heard in the High Court (generally, if the case was heard by a judge-alone) or in the Court of Appeal (generally, if the case was a jury trial).

In the civil jurisdiction, the District Court can determine claims involving up to $200,000. Claims involving less than $15,000 are dealt with by the Disputes Tribunal.

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