A whacky new court for Yarra: the Neighbourhood Justice Centre

I don’t mean to sound unduly sceptical, but this is pretty out-of-left-field, and it’s happening here in the ‘wood at a cost of $23.7 million over four years. I will keep an open minded eye on it, since out-of-left-field is not something you find in the court system very often, and there seems to be an excellent idea that offenders might give back to the offended community by scrubbing graffiti off railway stations. This huge building (pictured), once remodelled, will house one Magistrate and “an interdisciplinary team” who will hear both civil and criminal matters, and will be chosen with input from a residents’ representative council nominations for which are presently being sought.

If you have more time than me and want to avoid the council being stacked with the usual suspects, go forth and apply and then become the Neighbourhood Justice Centre correspondent for Abbotsford Blog.  If you merely want to have a say about what sort of person the Magistrate should be you can go to one of the “Resident Community Forums” tomorrow, on the 16th, 17th, 21st, 22nd, and 28th March which will “provide an opportunity to find out about the NJC and to discuss your experiences of the justice system and local crime and safety issues”. Otherwise, and this is modern, you can just email the Department of Injustice at njc@justice.vic.gov.au.
A fact sheet is here: Fact Sheet 1 – An Overview (PDF, 2 pages, 128 KB). It’s full of public service mumbo jumbo (what, for example, does “This initiative is a new approach to addressing issues of crime and disadvantage in communities and will provide a coordinated approach and response to the range of criminal and civil issues that are being experienced locally” mean?), but through it all, you can get a sense of out-of-left-fieldness which I find curiously attractive and repulsive at the same time.

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