Section 19 of the Senior Courts Act 2016 establishes a specialist judicial commercial panel in the High Court. The Chief High Court Judge announced the commencement of the panel on 1 September 2017.
Eight High Court Judges were announced as the initial panel Judges, six in Auckland (Venning, Heath, Courtney, Wylie, Katz and Muir JJ) and two in Wellington (Mallon and Dobson JJ).
The Chief High Court Judge may assign a panel Judge to certain commercial proceedings. The types of proceedings include cases where transactions of more than $2m are in dispute, where a public authority is seeking to enforce regulatory standards of commercial behaviour, and cases relating to intellectual property rights. Justice Venning's announcement explains that as a general rule, panel judges will manage cases from their home registry, while the substantive hearing will be held in the filing registry. Assigned judges will, where practical, deal with interlocutory matters and case management as well as hearing substantive fixtures.
The Chief High Court Judge's announcement can be found here.