According to a statement released Sunday by Chief District Court Judge Heemi Taumaunu, New Zealand is implementing a community-focused justice model in its District Courts, one of four major courts in the mainstream hierarchy.The Te Ao Mrama model, which means “enlightened planet,” is the name of the model.
The model “indicates the District Court’s conscious aim to step ‘towards a more enlightened environment’ for the good of all citizens of all ethnicities and cultures who are impacted by our court’s company.” One significant reform is that it aims to better honour the concept of cooperation enshrined in the Treaty of Waitangi by incorporating tikanga Mori and te reo Mori into the mainstream court system, which is a legacy of British colonialism.
The model will also incorporate “best practice lessons developed in specialist courts.” Using plain language, eliminating formalities, bolstering community input, making knowledge more accessible, addressing the root causes of crime, working with organisations across the justice system, and judges becoming more involved in the court process are among the best practices.
The legal system for delivering justice would be unaffected by the adoption of the model.
The Sentencing Act of 2002 will be followed as normal. Decisions can be taken “in an atmosphere where more well-informed decisions can be regularly made, based on better knowledge, with better-informed participants, and better-understood processes,” according to the model.
The model is intended to be adopted by all 59 District Courts in the country.