The lead-up to the trial: Pre-trial processes
With the introduction of the Criminal Procedure Act 2011 from 1 July 2013, court procedures have been streamlined so that if the defendant has pleaded not guilty, the case will usually proceed to a trial without any preliminary hearing before a judge.
Under the new “case review” procedure in the Act, the defence and the prosecution jointly file a “Case Management Memorandum” with the court, and the court registrar considers whether this memorandum raises issues that need to go before a judge before the trial. If not, then on the case review date the registrar simply adjourns the case to the trial date or, if there's to be jury trial, until a “jury trial callover” (see below, “Jury trial callovers”).
Note: If you've been charged with a crime and have pleaded not guilty, you have the right under New Zealand's Bill of Rights to have adequate time and facilities to prepare your defence. The Criminal Procedure Act contains specific rules about how much time there will be between the different steps in the criminal court process (see below).