The Ministry of Justice has advised the New Zealand Law Society that it is standardising the referral process for district court cases with a direction to restorative justice and there are some changes to the process.
"We’ve identified improvements to our referral process and we are now implementing a standardised approach across courts," a ministry email states.
"The new process has been designed with the Judiciary and endorsed by the Chief District Court Judge. It is based on processes that are already working well in some courts."
The ministry has outlined changes which affect counsel in court. These came into effect on 26 February 2018. The ministry describes these as follows:
- "Defence counsel need to provide contact details for the defendant while in court (or before) via a standard form.
- "The main source of victim contact information is the initial form sent to the court from the Officer in Charge. Prosecution counsel are not required to provide victim information to the court.
- "Restorative Justice providers will have a standing request for Summary of Facts and criminal conviction history that the judicial officer will decide to release when directing a case to Restorative Justice."
The ministry says any questions should be addressed to a local court or by emailing email@example.com.