2017 looks to be a year of changes for New Zealand’s legal system too. Although not as dramatic as a controversial new head of state, the approaching shake-up of New Zealand’s court system probably has a higher likelihood of bringing positive change.
A lot of the new legislation will come into force on 1 March 2017. Key developments include:
- The various District Courts will be reconstituted as a single court, with divisions for a Family Court, a Youth Court, and a Disputes Tribunal (District Court Act 2016)
- The amount claimable in the District Court will increase from $200,000 to $350,000.
- Greater use of electronic documents in proceedings will be facilitated through the Electronic Courts and Tribunals Act 2016.
Further down the track, on 1 January 2018, the Interest on Money Claims Act 2016 will come into force, bringing about a single statutory system for the award of interest on money claims. The New Zealand Law Society predicts that this is likely to reduce costs, provide greater certainty and more just outcomes.