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New High Court search rules

By Steven | June 4, 2009

There are new rules about access to court documents (including exhibits), both criminal and civil. They are more detailed and to some extent more liberal than the old ones. They open up a range of documents  subject to the overriding power of a judge to seal them. Some documents, however, can only be searched with the leave of the judge, such as interviews with sex complainants and mental health patients.

There’s a welcome movement in particular toward greater openness while the matter is before the courts, when it’s most likely to be of public interest. Both sets of rules outline a (largely informal) application process, and set out the factors to be considered where leave is required. These generally reflect recent developments in the case law:

 I think these rules are a great improvement, but they don’t go as far as the Law Commission suggested.

Topics: Court records, General | 2 Comments »

2 Responses to “New High Court search rules”

  1. NZVince Says:
    June 5th, 2009 at 7:46 pm

    In the name of transparency, these are welcome changes indeed. But seemingly not practiced by the Court.
    I sought to search a statement of claim in the Auckland High Court April where a wealthy businessman is suing the Crown. Even in this case, where the taxpayer is effectively being sued, I was denied access to this most rudimentary public court filing.

  2. Steven Says:
    June 6th, 2009 at 6:40 pm

    I should have noted that these new rules do not come into force until 12 June 2009.

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