27 Sep 2013

Justice Minister says some judges taking too long

9:48 pm on 27 September 2013

The Justice Minister says proposed court reforms will stop judges from taking too long when they decide to reserve their judgement on a case until a later date.

Judith Collins says she is concerned by the length of time some judgements take and wants to pass a law requiring chief judges to set protocols for their courts about reserved decisions.

Ms Collins says the courts shake-up will be its biggest overhaul in more than 100 years.

She says as part of the Government's proposed changes to the Judicature Act 1908, the country's seven courts will have to publish their own rules about what is a reasonable time to deliver judgements.

The proposals also aim to give the public more information about judges' decisions.

All written judgements would be published online and audio-visual links would be used more for court procedures so that prisoners do not leave prison grounds.

Ms Collins says New Zealand's court system is one of the last areas of the public sector still operating a paper-based model and needs to be more efficient.

She says the country is experiencing its lowest crime rate in 30 years and now is the time to do things differently.