Dunedin Law Courts
Ministry of Justice
This heritage project breathes significant life into the Dunedin Law Courts, originally built between 1900-1902. The building is one of the older assets of the Ministry and, as a result, it presented a number of compromises for modern use. Following the September 2011 Christchurch Earthquake, a business case was undertaken by Ministry of Justice and RDT Pacific to determine the future of the property. The result is a significant refurbishment and structural strengthening of this formerly underutilised heritage building to bring it up to current codes and to optimise its use as a court.
Prior to the Christchurch earthquake, all court services in Dunedin were delivered from the courthouse complex at Stuart Street. After the earthquake, the courthouse was inspected for seismic resilience and parts of the complex were assessed as presenting high risk to occupants in a moderate earthquake.
On this basis the Ministry shifted most of its court services to two leased buildings at 184 High Street (High Street) and John Wickcliffe House, where they remained. These initial leases expired in 2017 and The Ministry was forced to make a decision on the future of the Stuart Street asset.
Since 2011, a specialist team of consultants have been engaged to provide advice and assessments on the seismic state of the individual components of the Law Courts at Stuart Street.
The decision was made to bring the property up to the required seismic standard, so it could be properly utilised, and the Ministry of Justice could retain their asset.