New District Court judges increase number and diversity

Twenty one new District Court judges have been appointed, which will increase the total from 155 to 172 (some are retiring but 10 positions are new). This sounds like a lot of judges, but the courts are under a lot of pressure, with delays in proceedings common. Increasing ethnic and gender diversity is a given these days.

RNZ: Diverse intake of 21 new District Court judges

Another 21 new District Court judges have been appointed in a move the government says is to improve access to justice and boost diversity in New Zealand’s courts.

The appointments include 11 judges filling the positions of judges who have retired from the District Courts but 10 positions are new, as provided for in last year’s Budget.

The appointees include 10 new Māori judges, eight Pākehā, one Māori/Chinese and two Samoan. Twelve of them are women.

Attorney-General David Parker said there was an increasing workload for District Court judges.

“It’s partly because of population increase, partly because the trials are more complex than they used to be and partly because we’re trying to take an approach to therapeutic courts where we’re trying to deal with the underlying drug and addiction issues of some of the offenders so they don’t reoffend.”

The names of 14 of the new judges were released today, with the rest to be announced later this year.

If the gender and ethnicity are known then all the appointees must be decided on. I don’t know why seven names won’t be announced until later in the year.