Chapter 8
Overview of court procedure


8.8For the most part, extradition cases arise in the centres of greatest immigration, such as Auckland, Manukau, Wellington and Christchurch.196 The procedure in the Bill is quite technical and, in addition, we have suggested prescriptive timelines for events in order to minimise delay.197 Therefore, there could be merit in extradition applications being managed as a special category within the District Court’s vast and broad business, and thus heard by a selection of judges.

8.9Our view is that if certain judges are designated to manage and hear extradition cases, this may assist in disposition. We therefore recommend the following process: When an application is filed in a main centre with a number of judges, a judge or certain judges could be designated by the Chief Judge to be available for extradition cases. And so, when an arrest warrant is sought, a case could be referred to a designated judge in the first instance. Of course practical considerations need to apply and we acknowledge that, where there is a sense of urgency and a designated judge is unavailable, a non-designated judge might need to undertake this particular task.

8.10Our suggestion is, however, that once the first appearance takes place, the application is assigned to a designated judge and the Preliminary and Issues Conferences (if required) are scheduled to occur when that judge is available. Thereafter, the particular case would remain docketed to the individual judge until disposition. It seems to us that this may enhance efficiency and timeliness.

196We have purposefully not included in the Extradition Bill a provision specifying where the District Court proceedings must be held, beyond stating that they must be held where the NIP is filed: cl 75. We envisage that they will only be held in the three main centres to allow for the desired judicial and practitioner specialisation to develop. To combat any inconvenience for the respondent, we envisage that the Court Remote Participation Act 2010 procedure would be used wherever possible and that legal aid would cover the expense of any necessary travel.
197By way of example see Extradition Bill, cl 27(2), which states that the preliminary conference must be held within 15 days of the respondent’s arrest or the filing of the notice of intention to proceed, whichever is the later.