The courts may not be exempt from the Finance Minister's search for spending cuts.
The Minister has asked all government agencies to identify potential annual savings of either 6.5 or 7.5 percent.
This includes the Ministry of Justice, which administers the courts' budget.
Such a move would raise eyebrows in the legal community, where the judiciary's independence is regarded as key to a well-functioning court system.
The Minister of Finance declined our request for an interview, but in a statement, said she expects agency chiefs to exercise good judgement when proposing savings.
Otago University law professor Andrew Geddis spoke to Corin Dann.