Fears children's safety could be at risk as a result of delays caused by a lack of security in south Auckland courthouses.

Concerns have been raised after the absence of security guards in courtrooms has "been happening more often than it should" in district courts across the city.

It means court hearings have been delayed, or even adjourned.

Lawyer Tony Beach says it has become a a weekly occurrence in his experience.


"It seems to have occurred more often recently, but it has been an issue in the past."

He said. The New Zealand Law Society's Family Law chair, Kirsty Swadling says unfortunately there are already significant delays in the family court.

Swadling says family court proceedings are distressing at the best of times, but "it must be difficult for the parties involved, who expect for a matter to be heard, to have a matter put off." she said.

"Sometimes the cases actually need to deal with risks that a child or an adult might be in, and if that case is put off, there is a possibility they might be remaining in a risky situation until the matter can be brought back before the court."

Security is something they've been aware of being needed - but she says since the beginning of this year more cases are actually having to be rescheduled.

"Any case that involves a child needs to be determined as soon as it can - so any delay is never a good thing," she said.

The Ministry of Justice admits there've been adjournments and delays at Manukau, Papakura and Pukekohe district courts.

It's despite three-quarters of the 100 extra security guards promised in last year's Budget being on the ground in courts around the country already.


However, it says it "can be due to a number of factors, including unavailability of court security resources that have been deployed elsewhere within the courthouse to manage security risks."