Resource Management Act: RMA Link: Processes: Details

The RMAlink project aims to make community participation in all Resource Management Act processes more straightforward and less time-consuming. More effective participation from those with a concern for the environment will contribute towards improving environmental outcomes nationwide.

Processes: Details

Hosted by:

Wellington Community Network
Subject Environment Court

Text Environment Court
The Environmental Defence Society has produced some excellent material on Environment Court action, aimed at assisting citizens and environmental groups. These resources can be found on their RMAguide website, or in 'The Community Guide to the Resource Management Act 1991' (see references below).

The Resource Management Amendment Act 2005 has changed Environment Court procedure. Rather than the de novo hearing, the Court must now consider the decision made by the consent authority, and the evidence that was presented at it. This provision avoids the need to re-hear entire cases, and will speed up Court proceedings. However, there has been a corresponding increase in the documentation that consent authorities are required to make for consent hearings.



Hardie, J. Milligan, J. and Whiting, J. (2000) How to Run a Resource Management Case.
New Zealand Law Society, Wellington.
Guidelines produced for resource management lawyers and planning professionals taking cases to the Court. A good resource for groups and individuals who are unable to afford professional representation, and run their own case.

Peart, R. (2004) Community Guide to the Resource Management Act 1991.
Environmental Defence Society, Auckland.
Section 8. Proceedings in the Environment Court . p73-78 Summary of the appeal process, including who has the right to participate, pre-hearing procedures, experts evidence, costs, and resolving issues through mediation.

MFE (1999) Appeals on Council Decisions
Ministry for the Environment, Wellington.
Brochure. Available free from MFE, or online at

MFE (1999) Awarding of Costs by the Environment Court.
Ministry for the Environment, Wellington.
Brochure. Available free from MFE, or online at

MFE (2003) Reducing the Delays: Enhancing New Zealands Environment Court ME 464
Ministry for the Environment, Wellington. ISBN 0 478 24081 3

Harris, R. (ed) (2004) Handbook of Environmental Law. Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society of New Zealand (Inc.), Wellington.
Chapter 4B, p153-166, covers Environment Court procedures, preparation of evidence, awarding of costs.

Skelton, P. and Kerr, C. (2000) Working More effectively in a Legal Environment Under the Resource Management Act.
Lincoln University, Canterbury.

PCE (2003) Illuminated or Blinded by Science?
Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Wellington. 75p. ISBN 1-877274-09-7
Discussion paper on the role of science in environmental decisionmaking. Includes consideration of the role of science and of the expert witness in the Environment Court.

Journal Articles

Ong, Su-Wuen, (2001) Ive Got More Experts Than You Experts and the Environment Court.
NZ Journal of Environmental Law. vol 5, p261.
Results of research that looked at Environment Court decisions, and the influence that expert witnesses have on the outcome of a case.

Palmer, K.A. (2000) Costs Awards and Legal Aid Protection.
Resource Management Bulletin vol 3, p158.

Daya-Winterbottom, T. (2000) Costs, the Public Interest, and Legal Aid. Resource Management Journal, vol 8 no 2, p27.

Forret, Joan (1998) Scientific Evidence and Environmental Litigation in New Zealand
NZ Journal of Environmental Law, vol 2, 1998.

Web-Based Resources

Resources: Background information about the Court. Members and Sitting dates. Useful notes on mediation. Practice notes on court procedure are available, - 'Practice Note, June 1998', Case Management in the Environment Court, April 2004, and 'Practice Note on Alternative Dispute Resolution, Expert Witnesses, and Amendment to Practice Notes on Case Management, March 2005' available online.

Resources: A number of web-pages explaining Environment Court appeals process and associated issues evidence, costs, who has standing, etc.

Resources: Explanatory notes on taking appeals to the Environment Court. Written mainly for public interest groups.  

Regular Publications