The Ministry of Justice has located a further temporary facility to extend its range of court and justice services in Christchurch.
Premises at Riccarton Racecourse have been hired and will be used for the full range of Family Court and civil hearings from 11 April.
The Racecourse premises will be used as a multi-jurisdiction facility, where Family Court hearings, Disputes and Tenancy Tribunal hearings as well as Environment and Employment Court matters can be heard.
A number of possible locations to hold a low-risk criminal list court are currently being investigated. It is hoped that a suitable site will be identified by next week. High-priority arrest and sentencing matters are continuing to being dealt with at Rangiora District Court.
The Ministry is continuing to look for suitable interim space where Youth Court hearings will occur.
Deputy Secretary Courts, Andrew Hampton, says the Ministry is working with the judiciary and the legal profession to ensure that maximum use can be made of the temporary locations.
“Fixtures will only be scheduled after a realistic assessment of how ready each party to the case is to proceed – including the lawyers, the mediators and the applicants. It is important to determine which location is most suitable for each fixture, and the Ministry has dedicated staff now working on this scheduling of cases across all jurisdictions and all sites. They are working to make best use of the space available.”
Mr Hampton says the Ministry is receiving up-to-date information from Civil Defence with regard to when public access to its court buildings in the orange cordon may be possible.
“We continue to have grounds for optimism about accessing some of our buildings in central Christchurch. But of course, we need to have temporary facilities up and running and justice services operating while we wait to reoccupy our buildings.”
Since the Earthquake the following urgent criminal matters have been heard:
323 arrests have been dealt with at Rangiora District Court and the central police station.
204 custodial remands have been heard at Christchurch Men’s Prison.
35 defendants have been sentenced.
20 Youth Court hearings have been heard at Rangiora District Court.
20 Christchurch youth drug court matters were heard last week.