News Item

May 2017

"One Court, One Judge" discussion paper published - feedback sought

The Law Foundation-funded discussion paper authored by Zoe Lawton, “One Court, One Judge: An Integrated Court System for New Zealand Families Affected by Violence” was released today. In her research, Zoe has explored the possibility of redesigning of the District, Youth and Family Courts so that a single judge is assigned to an affected family.

Zoe Lawton researcher and author of the discussion paper ONE COURT, ONE JUDGE

New Zealand’s domestic violence rates are some of the highest in the developed world. Zoe’s research examined whether a case management system of “One Court, One Judge” would ensure consistency in case resolution and deliver better outcomes for the affected family than having different hearings under different judges. This involved research of similar court designs in overseas jurisdictions.

Overall, the results suggest that a New York one court / one judge system outperforms the New Zealand multiple court / multiple judge system on four of the six performance measures. However, it is not possible to conclusively determine which court system instils greater confidence in families about the court process as a whole.

Zoe is seeking feedback on her proposals from court stakeholders and members of the public. This feedback will be published on line on the researcher’s website and provided to the Ministry of Justice.

Feedback can be emailed to until Friday 25 August 2017.

Discussion paper: ONE COURT, ONE JUDGE – An Integrated Court System for New Zealand Families Affected by Violence

The Law Foundation provided $56,000 for this research which was conducted in partnership with the Ministry of Justice.