More efficient courts?

by Hannah Norton30 Mar 2015
Cases are moving through the District Courts faster, with a decrease in the age of both criminal and cases, new figures show.
There was a nationwide reduction of 21.5 per cent in the average age of criminal cases going through the District Courts from April 2013 to December last year - with an average time of 99 days for active cases, according to figures released by the Ministry of Justice.
District Court civil matters reduced by 13.1percent for the same period, and sat at an average of 196 days.
The statistics also showed an eight percent decrease in active criminal cases during the same period; in contrast to a five percent increase in the number of active defended civil cases.
Also, High Court also achieved a 15 per cent reduction in the average age of civil applications in bankruptcy, civil appeals, and company liquidation and probate cases.
Some stand-out courts were in Auckland and Northland.
District Courts in Northland achieved a 32.7 per cent reduction in the average age of criminal cases to 82 days, with the average age of jury trials reduced by 26.8 percent to 290 days.
Auckland, Waitakere and North Shore District Courts achieved a 29.1 per cent reduction in the average age of criminal cases to 122 days, while the average age of jury trials dropped by 17.4 percent to 381 days.  In South Auckland, the average age of all criminal cases reduced by 20.6 percent to 108 days and the average age of jury trials was trimmed by 26.4 percent to 322 days.
Meanwhile, Special Jurisdictions, which supports specialist courts and tribunals, achieved a collective 32.9 percent reduction in the average case of cases.
In response to the figures, Justice and Courts Minister Amy Adams said the decrease in the age of criminal cases could be attributed in part to an overall 17 percent reduction in crime.
“We’re making some excellent headway across New Zealand as we work towards keeping everyone’s time in the court system to a minimum.”
The Ministry of Justice has set itself a target to reduce the age of court cases by half by 2017.
“Our courts have a hard-earned reputation for fairness and impartiality, but they also need to run on time. The Government is focused on improving the transparency, speed and efficiency with which our courts operate and ensuring the way courts work reflects the modern age we live in.”