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No Appetite for a Cuppa and Muffin

Ric Carlyon - Monday, March 06, 2017

Auckland Justices, detecting little support from other Associations, withdrew its remit at the Annual Conference of the Royal Federation of Justices Associations which called for refreshments during training sessions.

Auckland thought it was reasonable that during training sessions of 3 - 4 hours Justices could expect a break with cup of tea or coffee, and a food item such as a muffin: the cost reimbursed as training expenses. The break, with refreshments, was regarded as appropriate, especially for those who travelled long distances to and from the sessions.

But at the Conference in Rotorua Auckland delegates detected little appetite for paid refreshments so withdrew the Remit.  

Another Auckland remit was carried. It sought to make strong a recommendation to the Ministry of Justice that some minor offences, removed into Category 1 beyond the jurisdiction of Judicial Justices of the Peace, should be re-instated.

Of the other remits from Auckland, one called for an enforced lapse of 12 months between appointment of a Justice and gaining accreditation. “The public expects accredited Justices will have professional knowledge gained during experience and 12 months seems appropriate” it was argued, but other delegates voted the measure down.

Another Auckland remit was passed, calling for the results of induction training and accreditation testing to be passed on to training officers in each Association so they can see, and fill the knowledge gaps with additional/targeted tutorials. No names of those tested will be revealed, just the (anonymous) results.  

Marlborough Association wants the Ministry of Justice to find ways to monitor and improve the competencies of Justices of the Peace so that the public enjoys the right to a proficient service. The Conference agreed with the conjecture.

Two remits were passed seeking more use of Judicial Justices of the Peace in court work, asking the Ministry of Justice to help realise their full potential, and/or extend their jurisdiction by a change in the law.

Marlborough Association withdrew its remit trying to delay consideration of the frequency of the Federation’s meetings.

And Nelson-Tasman Association’s remit found favour at Conference and will be applauded by Ministerial Justices of the Peace everywhere. It wants the Federation to get agreement by banks, financial and similar institutions to agree on a standard wording for Justices to use when, as “a trusted referee” under anti money-laundering legislation, they identify individuals in photographs.

Once a standard form of wording is agreed, Nelson-Tasman pointed out, Justices can organise appropriate stamps. At present the wording required differs from bank to bank, and among other institutions, and the long declaration often has to be hand-written.

The same Association successfully argued that the Justices of the Peace unique number should be recognised in official documentation as an Official Identifier.

Ashburton was also successful in its bid requesting the magazine Justice Quarterly continue in hard copy, rather than become an electronic journal after 2020 as previously agreed. Ashburton says a paper-based periodical should continue as a “shop window for the work of Justices of the Peace in the community”.

Eastern Bay of Plenty Association’s proposal for a policy of extensive archiving and filing Associations’ records on a central data base, and for the later disposal of paper records, did not find favour with delegates.    

Further News from Conference

Delegates from throughout the land attending this weekend’s conference of Royal Federation of Justices Associations have had several thought-provoking addresses.

Jonathan Temm, QC, in his speech titled “"Looking to Justices of the Peace for Leadership in the Community" reviewed present issues in the justice system and was highly critical of it.  

He contends it’s a legal system rather than a justice system which he says is ineffective, ineffectual, under-funded and misunderstood. He concludes it’s a tyranny of the majority. Prisons, he opines, are not working.

He told Justices there needs to be progress in our liberal democracy, an investment in people with a focus on education and information.

“Concentrate on the matters that unite us rather than those that divide” he implored, “promoting unity and community”.

Chief District Court Judge, Jan-Marie Doogue, who oversees New Zealand’s 176 district court judges, also addressed the conference.

She told delegates that recent international research shows that the No 1 characteristic for those in judicial roles was humility and a sense of public service. 

“In my estimation,” she said, “this definitely applies to JPs”.

Her theme was "Adapting to Change in the Justice System" and spoke about some upcoming changes this year, concluding that there needs to be more leadership, compassion and community.

Here are some updates from conference for you for the website as follows:

1.  Jonathan Temm QC gave a provocative speech under the heading "Looking to Justices of the Peace for Leadership in the Community" and a review of present issues:

a. Idea of progress in a liberal democracy

b. This is not a justice system at all - it's a legal system (ineffective, ineffectual, under funded and misunderstood)

c. Tyranny of the majority

d. People have to be invested in

e. Prisons are not working

f. Focus on education and information

g. Focus on things that unite not divide us - unity and community

2. Chief District Court Judge J M Doogue addressed the conference also - she oversees 176 district court judges.

She advised us that the No 1 characteristic that came out of recent international research for those in judicial roles was humility and a sense of public service.  This definitely applied to JPs in her estimation. Her theme was about "Adapting to Change in the Justice System" and briefly spoke about some upcoming changes for 2017.
Concluded with there needs to be more leadership, compassion and community.

3. 20% of all JPs are now accredited nation wide

4. Remits as follows:

Remits 1,2,3,4,6,9,10,11 - Carried

Remits 5 and 12 - Lost

Remits 7 and 8 - Withdrawn

5. Election of Officers to the Board - all elected unopposed.

Forgot to mention the Assoc Minister for Justice, Hon Mark Mitchell addressed the conference first thing today.

Official opening last night was formal but not too long, welcomed by the Mayor of Rotorua Districts, MOJ personnel spoke Jacqueline ? Need to get surname to you if you want this.

Currently in a break for afternoon tea and about to go to seminar Ric.  I've ccd Selwyn so he can check, amend etc.

Cheers - Sherryl

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