New Zealand Law Society - Judicial resourcing model will probably be made public soon

Judicial resourcing model will probably be made public soon

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Work on a judicial resourcing model has been completed and will "probably be made public soon", the Justice select committee has reported.

In its report on the 2018/19 Estimates for Vote Attorney-General and Vote Parliamentary Counsel, the committee says the work was initiated by the previous Attorney-General, Christopher Finlayson QC, to assist in identifying issues facing New Zealand's judiciary and possible solutions.

The report says the current Attorney-General, David Parker, told it that there were currently nine temporary court judges, which had "recently decreased from 23".

"The Attorney-General told us he would receive advice on the issue, and on whether more acting judges are needed before any reform is initiated. We heard that a more methodical and sensible approach is needed for determining the number of judges the system requires. The judicial resourcing model will help with this," the report says.

Principal Family Court Judge

The report also says the committee asked the Attorney-General to update it on the appointment of a replacement for the Principal Family Court Judge.

Judge Laurence Ryan retires on 17 August 2018 after 22 years on the bench and five years as head of the Family Court.

"The Attorney-General told us that the process had been restarted to consider additional attributes," the committee says.

"In his view, recent changes to Family Court processes had not worked well, and major work is needed to remedy the systems issues. We were told that the appointment process needed to give thought to the skills required for any potential reforms."

Leave for senior judges

The committee also discussed the implications of leave for senior judges. It reports that if the Acting Principal Family Court Judge took leave to which he was entitled, it might be necessary to appoint an acting judge.

"The Attorney-General said he did not think it appropriate to pay the salaries of two Acting Principal Family Court Judges to potentially avoid such an issue."

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