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Frequently asked questions

Where can I get help with the court processes?

The court has appointed a Friend of Submitter to assist parties who do not already have professional assistance.

When and where are the hearings being held?

Information on the hearings can be found here for PC7; PC1 and PC8.

What happens if the COVID-19 alert levels change or there is a regional lockdown imposed?

If this happens, the Environment Court will post a Practice Note on its website advising what is to happen.  You will be contacted directly if there is, or may be, an impact on the hearing and also sent a link to the Practice Note.

If you are at higher risk of severe illness, immune-compromised or have a relevant underlying health condition, advise the Registry so that alternative arrangements for the attendance can be made.

Audio-visual technology will be available throughout the hearings and this will support the continuation of the hearing (if appropriate in the circumstances).

Who do I contact if I cannot attend the hearing?

If you are unwell, as soon as you can contact the ORC Hearing Administrators Glen Cooper and Rebecca Johnson by email at PlanChange@orc.govt.nz or by phone on 027 213 1652.

What happens at the hearing?

At the hearing each party will have an allocated time to speak to their submission in front of the court, the purpose being to highlight the key points they have made in their submission.  The party may also present evidence.

If you are represented by counsel or by another person, they may make submissions on your behalf.

Your allotted time will include time to cross-examine other witnesses.  The court may also ask you and your witnesses questions.

For more information see the hearing pages for PC7; PC1 and PC8.

How do I become a party?

Please see information on becoming a party to the proceedings.

Do I have to pay a fee to become a party?

No.  For more information see Becoming a Party.

Could I end up paying costs if I become a party?

The Environment Court may order any party to proceedings before it to pay to any other party the costs and expenses (including witness expenses) incurred by the other party that the court considers reasonable.

However, in relation to the parties to these proceeding (other than the Otago Regional Council), the court must apply a presumption that costs are not to be ordered (s 285(5) RMA).

Can I come to the hearing if I am not a party?

Yes, but only as an observer.  Only parties can take part in the proceedings.

Is mediation public?

Mediation is private and confidential so only those invited to mediation can attend.

Is expert conferencing public?

Expert conferencing is not open to the public so only those invited to expert conferencing can attend.

I'm from the media, can I record or film the hearing?

You need the Judge's permission.  You will need to fill out the media request form [PDF, 201 KB](external link).

How do I serve documents on other parties?

Not all documents are required to be served, but if they are, information on service can be found here for PC7 [PDF, 129 KB] and here for PC1 [PDF, 123 KB] and PC8 [PDF, 169 KB].

How do I prepare for a hearing?

It is recommended that you begin preparing early and think about the key messages you want to convey.  Say what your concerns are, offer suggestions, and state exactly what you would like to happen. 

Think about whether you need to give evidence or simply to talk to your submission.  Think also about whether evidence should be given by you or by another person (including an expert witness on your behalf).

If you want to amend the provisions of the proposed plan changes, these need to be in writing and sent to the court by the date directed. Information on drafting documents for the court can be found on the General Information page.

You will need to take care not to go beyond your submission on the plan change.

It pays to practise beforehand and remember to stick to the time limit.


A glossary, including commonly used abreviations is available to be viewed here: 

Glossary [PDF, 104 KB]

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