Consultation on use of technology in court system; additional govt consultations
Wed 14 Sep 2022
The judiciary is consulting on plans for how technology could be used in Aotearoa New Zealand's court system.
Consultation on use of technology in courts
The judiciary is seeking feedback on a draft Digital Strategy for the Courts and Tribunals of Aotearoa New Zealand. Feedback is invited from individuals or groups.
The closing date to give feedback on the Strategy is 30 September 2022.
The Digital Strategy will inform decisions about how technology will be used in the court system over the next decade. The draft Digital Strategy set out to answer 3 key questions:
- How can digital technology be used to support the administration of justice by the judiciary?
- How will technology enable the courts to do better what they do now?
- How will technology enable the courts to find new ways to meet unmet justice needs, to support just, timely and efficient dispute resolution processes and outcomes, and to support open justice?
The draft Digital Strategy provides an overview of the current situation and the need for modernisation and change noting:
"Our current paper-based systems and inadequate technology result in a great deal of time being spent trying to ensure that documents and other materials end up in the right place, and in a great deal of churn and wasted time – for example, where hearings cannot proceed because relevant reports have not been received or have not made it onto the file. There is also a real risk of adverse outcomes for court participants and for the community, where decisions are made without access to all relevant information." (page 6)
This strategy would apply to all courts of Aotearoa New Zealand including the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, High Court, District Court, Family Court, Youth Court and others. It would also apply to tribunals including the Disputes Tribunal, Employment Relations Authority, Human Rights Review Tribunal, Immigration and Protection Tribunal, Legal Aid Tribunal and others.
The draft strategy sets out objectives and guiding principles for the use of digital technology. It then identifies the 3 highest priorities for the next 5 years:
- Digitising the court record, court files, and case management system. This project, known as Te Au Reka (formerly Caseflow), has started and was approved in Budget 2022.
- Implementing a single system for remote hearings using audio-visual technology.
- Ensuring infrastructure across all courts and tribunals to support implementation of technology initiatives.
It also identifies other initiatives that should be considered as priorities in the next 5 years, such as ways to communicate with whānau, ways to share information with victims, remote access to interpretation and communication assistance, increased access to information about processes and timelines, and enforcement of outcomes of proceedings including sharing information with relevant agencies. The draft strategy also identifies further initiatives to consider in the long term.
Feedback can be provided by:
The following government consultations also have closing dates in September and October. Our related news stories below include links to research and information about the links between violence against women and the consultation areas below.
Corrections consulting on ways to improve outcomes
Ara Poutama Aotearoa | Department of Corrections is consulting on proposed options to improve rehabilitation, reintegration, and safety outcomes for people in the corrections system. The proposed changes are detailed in the Options to achieve improved outcomes in the corrections system: Discussion Document 2022. The areas of change identified by Corrections include:
"1. Monitoring and gathering information on prison activity and communications for intelligence purposes to improve prison safety
2. Ensuring people are assigned to male and female prisons by considering a range of factors
3. Increasing access to privacy and control over lighting in prison cells
4. Refining disciplinary processes in prisons
5. Supporting improved rehabilitation and reintegration outcomes for Māori
6. Providing remand accused people with greater access to non-offence focused programmes and services
7. Making a series of miscellaneous amendments to solve a range of technical issues that will assist day-to-day operations, including:
a. Body temperature scanners
b. Enabling the use of imaging technology to replace strip searches
c. Case management plans
d. Information sharing with Inland Revenue
e. Mixing of young people and adults
f. Minor/technical changes"
For each area, there are operational options and possible amendments to the Corrections Act 2004 and the Corrections Regulations 2005. Public feedback is invited by email to LegislationAmendments@corrections.govt.nz or through an online form. The closing date to give feedback is 23 September 2022.
Consultation on Aotearoa's first National Security Strategy
The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC) is developing Aotearoa's first National Security Strategy. DPMC is seeking feedback on the long-term approach to national security. DPMC notes that:
New Zealand’s concept of national security is focused on protecting New Zealand from malicious threats from those who would do us harm. National security contributes to people's wellbeing, and involves working to identify, mitigate, and respond to threats that impact New Zealand and its people, including:
*Terrorism and violent extremism of all kinds
*Interference by another country in our democracy (for example by covertly influencing our election process and voting decisions)
*Cyber incidents that affect important computer networks (for example the loss of access to bank accounts, extraction of data and personal records, or disruptions to power supply)."
Public feedback is invited through an online form. The closing date to give feedback is 30 September 2022.
Police seeking feedback on proposed regulations related to firearms registry
New Zealand Police is seeking public submissions on proposed regulations to support the new legislation for the Firearms Registry. The registry will link firearms to licence holders and track sales of all firearms, parts and ammunition. The consultation considers
- the arms items and the details of those items to be recorded in the Firearms Registry.
- the obligations of licence holders and people in possession of specified arms items to provide information to Police for inclusion in the Firearms Registry.
- associated provisions that support these changes.
Feedback can be submitted through an online form, email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or post to the Policy Group, Police National Headquarters, PO Box 3017 Wellington. For more information see the NZ Police media release or the Firearms and Safety section on the Police website. The consultation closes on 12 October 2022.
Consultation on Justice Sector Long-term Insights Briefing
The Ministry of Justice (MOJ) has published findings from this first part of the consultation to develop the Justice Sector Long-term Insights Briefing focused on imprisonment in a consultation document. The main themes are: How has the prison population changed and why? What helps keep people away from prison? What are the future risks and opportunities? MOJ is inviting feedback on this consultation document for the second part of the consultation to develop the Long-term Insights Briefing. The closing date to give feedback is 7 October 2022.
Prisoner numbers are down: let’s not go back to a ‘lock ’em up’ mindset, The Spinoff, 29.09.2022
Five Country Ministerial Communiqué, Beehive media release, 14.09.2022
Waitangi Tribunal, in the midst of a 'golden age', tackles racism in the justice system, Stuff, 12.09.2022
Ombudsman review highlights systemic issues in prisons, Amnesty International media release, 22.08.2022