During the Level 4 lockdown period, a state of emergency has been declared, and New Zealand courts, while still operating, are focusing on “priority proceedings”. Most civil fixtures have been vacated. There are many questions around when these will return to court.
The Epidemic Preparedness Act 2006 empowers judges to modify the rules of the court during an epidemic. This process will take time, and parties will undoubtedly face uncertainty.
One area unaffected is arbitration. Now is the time to seriously consider using arbitration as an alternative method of dispute resolution.
Being inherently more flexible and agile, the Arbitrators’ and Mediators’ Institute of New Zealand (AMINZ) remains available to assist with the appointment of arbitrators. Therefore, there is no reason why many commercial disputes, of whatever size, cannot go ahead.
If you are unsure what arbitration is exactly, it is not the same as regular litigation. Arbitration is private and confidential, parties choose the decision-maker allowing for someone with appropriate expertise to take charge, and results in a final and binding award, that is enforceable in New Zealand.
To find out more about the arbitration process, do not hesitate to contact one of our experienced Civil Litigation team members Todd & Walker Law.