Source: (2009) Paper presented at the Children and the Law International Conference. Prato, Tuscany, Italy. 7 September.

In practice, the New Zealand system encapsulates restorative justice ideologies, by including the victim in the decision-making process and encouraging the mediation of concerns between the victim, the offender and their families to achieve reconciliation, restitution and rehabilitation. The New Zealand system, especially the family group conference, has been practised as a restorative justice system, though this was not necessary to conform to the provisions of the Act. Restorative justice is nowhere mentioned in the Act, yet a restorative justice approach is entirely consistent with its objects and principles. In fact, “restorative justice” thinking and practice had barely begun at the time the Children, Young Persons and Their Families Act 1989 was being discussed. Thus, the system follows restorative justice techniques although the black letter law did not explicitly envisage this outcome. (excerpt)