Wellington will get its High Court back in the New Year, once water and earthquake damage is repaired.

Engineers have declared the building structurally sound, despite the damage it suffered in the 7.8 quake on November 14. But it will need repairs before it can be used again.

Ministry of Justice spokesman Antony Paltridge said the main issue was water damage "from pipes that burst, sprinklers, things that have come down, like ceiling tiles".

"So it's not a matter of simply tidying the place up. We're creating a work plan for what has to be done before the building can be reoccupied."


The building is expected to reopen early next year. An exact date will be given once the work plan is finalised.

Until then, the sixth floor of the Wellington District Court will continue to operate as the High Court registry. High Court cases are being rescheduled to other courts around Wellington.

Despite the disruption, the High Court isn't suffering any major delays. Important files were rescued from the building once safety procedures were in place.

"They had to go in with the engineers and were supervised, but could remove the files that needed to be removed. They got all the mail quite quickly," Paltridge said.

"So they've reasonably kept on top of things."