Before the hearing
Before the hearing, your proceeding will be case-managed by the Environment Court. 'Case management' is a term used to describe the progression of your proceeding through the court system. Below are explanations of some typical case management processes.
On this page:
- Case management tracks
- Reporting memorandum
- Judicial telephone conference / pre-hearing conference
- Hearing preparation
After an appeal or application is lodged with the Court it will be referred to an Environment Judge for directions.
The Court specifically manages the flow of cases through a Case Tracking system. The Judge will assign your case to a specific case management track and a case manager will notify you of this in writing. The three case management tracks are:
Standard - this track includes most s120 of the Resource Management Act 1991 appeals, non-urgent Enforcement Order proceedings and other miscellaneous proceedings. The Court will typically issue standard directions to the parties, with an emphasis on avoiding unnecessary court appearances at the interlocutory stage and a hearing within six months of commencement.
Priority - this track is for more urgent cases such as urgent enforcement proceedings; also appeals that the Court considers require priority resolution, or matters for which more intense case management is required such as plan changes.
Parties On-Hold - cases will be placed on this track where parties advise that they are not actively seeking a hearing so they can (for example) negotiate or mediate.
The Court may direct that the parties provide reports on the status of the proceedings. This allows the parties to inform the Court about the progress of the proceedings and request further directions. The Judge will review the report and make directions which will be issued to the parties by a case manager.
Mediation allows the parties to discuss the issues and try to resolve the matters with the assistance of a commissioner.
Judicial Conferences are used by the Court to review the progress of the proceedings, discuss the key issues of the case, and make directions for efficient case management. Conferences can be held in Court or by telephone. A Judicial Telephone Conference is a conference call with all the parties. A Pre-Hearing Conference is held in a courtroom or other venue. Everyone who wishes to take part in the proceedings should attend the conference or be represented at it by someone who is familiar with the proceedings. The Court will advise the parties of the time and, where relevant, the location of the conference in a Notice.
The matters to be considered at the conference may include:
- Recording the names of all who wish to be heard in the proceedings, and their counsel or other representatives (if any).
- Recording the particular issues in which each person or body seeks to take part, and any witnesses to be called, and where necessary, to obtain better particulars of the case of each party.
- Whether there are any legal questions as to the Court’s jurisdiction or the standing of the parties or otherwise which should be argued as preliminary points to the substantive hearing.
- Whether persons and bodies having similar interests should be encouraged to have joint representation.
- Whether any directions are justified about access to information held by other parties or by anyone else.
- Whether any party wishes to have witness summonses to require witnesses to attend to give evidence or produce documents at the substantive hearing of the proceedings.
- Whether any arrangements or directions are appropriate for the orderly production and identification of exhibits, and whether an agreed file of documents can and should be compiled.
- Whether any party proposes that the Court itself should call any witness, and any proposals for the use of other supplementary sources of information or aids to understand the issues.
- Any proposals for a timetable for parties to deliver documentation to other parties, prior to the hearing of the proceedings, for example any statements of evidence they propose to give or call.
- Any suggestion about the time and place of the hearing, the procedures to be followed at the hearing and the likely duration of the hearing.
- Any other matters on which arrangements should be made or directions given to ensure the fair, orderly and efficient hearing of the proceedings.
You will be expected to observe timetables and the rules relating to the way in which cases are conducted (whether you have a lawyer or other agent representing you or you are representing yourself). The Court's Practice Note 2014 is a useful guide to the way in which cases are prepared for hearing, and the way in which the hearings themselves are conducted.
Any documents you file in Court must be:
- clearly typed, with 1.5 or double line spacing, and paragraphs should be consecutively numbered
- on standard A4 paper
- served (sent) to all the other parties in the case at the addresses for service they have given, at the same time as the document is lodged with the Court.
Written Statements of Evidence must be set out in numbered paragraphs. All documents annexed to a statement must be separately identified and signed at the same time as the statements. Statements of evidence should set out facts about the case and should not include legal submissions.
The evidence you intend to rely on must be put into a statement which is lodged and served on other parties before the Court hearing, in accordance with any timetable directions which the Court may have made. You will have a limited right to give updated oral evidence at the hearing. Where the Court has made timetable directions, with time limits for lodging statements and documents, it is imperative that these are followed. If the time limits are not complied with, you will be prevented from giving that evidence, unless there are truly exceptional circumstances.
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