The judicature modernisation legislation updates the century old law underpinning New Zealand courts. The reforms are in response to recommendations in the Law Commission's report 'Review of the Judicature Act 1908: Towards a new Courts Act'.
Many of the changes it introduces come into effect on 1 March 2017.
What are the changes?
The judicature modernisation legislation reforms the composition, jurisdiction, powers and procedures of courts making them easier to understand and use for New Zealanders.
When are the changes being introduced?
Some changes were introduced in October 2016. The Interest on Money Claims changes will be introduced on 1 January 2018.
Most of the rest of the changes go live on 1 March 2017.
The legislation makes a number of changes including:
replaces the Judicature Act and Supreme Court Act with a Senior Courts Act
repeals the District Courts Act and re-enacting it as a new, modernised Act
makes the processes and criteria for appointing judges more transparent by requiring the judicial selection and recommendation process to be published by the Attorney-General
enables specialist panels of judges to be assigned to hear particular types of cases in the High Court
improves flexibility for the court to limit vexatious proceedings, and
extends the District Court's jurisdiction to allow it to deal with civil cases where the amount in dispute is up to $350,000, rather than the current threshold of $200,000.