Contents

Chapter 8
Leadership and accountability

Linkages in the structure of the judiciary

8.3An important feature of the courts’ architecture in New Zealand is that the judges of the High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court must all be High Court judges. Since 2003, when the Chief Justice became the Head of Bench in the Supreme Court and the head of the judiciary in New Zealand, the Chief High Court Judge has been responsible to the Chief Justice for ensuring the orderly and prompt conduct of the High Court’s business.97  However, there is no similar accountability requirement for the President of the Court of Appeal.

8.4In the District Courts, the Commission understands that protocols operate so that the Principal Judges of the Family and Youth Courts are in effect responsible to the Chief District Court Judge for ensuring the orderly and prompt conduct of the District Courts’ overall business.

8.5In Issues Paper 29, the Commission proposed that this be made a statutory requirement, and sought views on this.98  We also asked whether the President of the Court of Appeal should be statutorily responsible to the Chief Justice for the conduct of the Court of Appeal’s overall business.99

8.6All the submitters who addressed these questions agreed that the linkages in the structure of the judiciary should all be formally recognised in legislation, including a requirement that the President of the Court of Appeal and Chief High Court Judge should be accountable to the Chief Justice for ensuring the orderly and efficient operation of their benches, and that the Principal Family and Youth Court Judges should be accountable to the Chief District Court Judge in the same way. This would make the present arrangements transparent and more consistent.

8.7As the Head of the Judiciary, the Chief Justice would have the ability to engage with the Chief District Court Judge.

R35 Legislation should provide that the President of the Court of Appeal and the Chief High Court Judge are accountable to the Chief Justice for ensuring the orderly and efficient operation of the Court of Appeal and High Court respectively.

R36Legislation should provide that the Principal Judges in the divisions of the District Courts are responsible to the Chief District Court Judge for ensuring the orderly and efficient operation of their divisions.

97Judicature Act 1908, s 4B.
98Review of the Judicature Act 1908: Towards a consolidated Courts Act, above n 96, at [4.5].
99At [4.3].