The establishment of the Supreme Court ends New Zealand’s 160-year link to the Privy Council, but it is physically located in basement premises.

The Supreme Court will sit above the Court of Appeal which, in turn, is above the High Court and District Courts

Physically, however, it sits under the High Court at Wellington – down a couple of flights of stairs to a basement courtroom.

The basement is expected to house the court until refurbishments are carried out on the nearby old High Court.

Chief Justice Dame Sian Elias, who heads the court, said at today’s ceremonial opening the aspiration for the delivery of justice which had prompted the promotion of the court should be celebrated.

“Those aspirations have been with us from the very beginning,” she said.

“In February 1840, at Waitangi, much of the debate was about law and its administration.

“I doubt whether any country was founded with such expectations of law as ours.”

The creation of a final Court of Appeal in New Zealand furthered those aspirations for justice, Dame Sian said.

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