By Chief District Court Judge Jan-Marie Doogue, The New Zealand Law Society, March 31, 2017
Te Kooti Rangatahi (Youth) – Rangatahi Courts Started in 2008, the 14 Rangatahi and two Pasifika courts involving eight judges are mainly marae-based sentencing hearings within the Youth Court that use culturally adapted processes to reconnect young offenders with their cultural identity. Kaumatua (elders) and kuia (female elders) are heavily involved in holding young people to account.
Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Court/Te Whare Whakapiki Wairua (The House that Lifts the Spirits) A pre-sentence initiative piloted in Waitakere and Auckland, under a five-year Government-funded, fully evaluated, pilot. Designed to achieve better outcomes for serious offenders whose offending is driven by an unresolved dependency but who also have a high risk of non-compliance. The stated aims of the pilot are to reduce reoffending and the use of imprisonment, reduce consumption and dependency, positively impact on health and wellbeing, and be cost effective.
Family Violence Court Eight District Courts schedule block sittings of family violence cases so appropriate social services, support and programs are concentrated to be on hand to connect with families, under court guidance.
Special Circumstances Court Te Kooti o Timatanga Hou, Court of New Beginnings in Auckland – Began in 2010 for homeless people who have some degree of impaired decision-making capacity. Takes a non-adversarial, coordinated, inter-agency approach to addressing the legal, social and health-related issues that have led to offending and homelessness. The Special Circumstances Court in Wellington began in 2012 using the same model. (Click HERE to watch a video and learn more about the court.)
Matariki Court A process used since 2010 at Kaikohe District Court for adult offenders using section 27 of the Sentencing Act to allow the court to hear about an offender’s personal circumstances and cultural background, and also how whanau (family) may assist in the prevention of further offending.
Sexual Violence Court An initiative to pilot new court processes in all serious cases of sexual violence proceeding to jury trial in the Auckland and Whangarei District Courts from December 2016. The pilot aims to take simple, practical steps that help cohesive and consistent application of existing law. To reduce delays and improve the court experience for participants, it will apply pro-active, best-practice trial management and also improve judicial education. Central to the initiative is an education program on sexual violence for trial judges, and Best Practice Guidelines developed by the pilot’s governance board to drive tighter pre-trial case management.