A Labour government will set up a special Earthquake Court to speed up the claims process for Cantabrians still waiting for resolution after almost four years, and immediately begin working on protecting flood-risk homes.
Umm as I understand it the bench in Christchurch has effectively already done this. They have set aside extra hearing hours for earthquake claims, so this is not really a change.
“An Earthquake Court – a special division of the Canterbury District Court – will deal with insurance claims of up to $1 million.
That would require a law change (which takes a year or so) as the District Courts Act 1947 sets a limit of $200,000 for civil claims. So is Labour going to increase the jurisdiction of the District Court to $1 million for all civil cases, or just earthquake insurance claims?
“To reduce the burden on families all costs, including lawyers’ costs and expert witness fees, will be paid for by the Crown.
Oh God. That will mean absolutely no one will settle. If the taxpayer (through EQC) is paying for costs on all sides, then you’d be mad to settle. Absolutely everyone will head to court. The lawyers will love this policy – but I tell you what – it will clog the legal system up even more.