Innovative approaches to justice: The NJC experience


Problem-solving approaches to justice are directed at the underlying causes of offending and supporting and protecting communities.

Much research shows that the approaches used in the Neighbourhood Justice Centre (NJC) in Australia work. They reduce crime and have a positive impact on the justice system, individuals and the broader community.

The NJC and the Australian Centre for Justice Innovation (ACJI) have collaborated to produce a package of materials to support Magistrates and others in adopting these approaches where appropriate. The materials focus on interventions, strategies and skills that can be used by Magistrates that support procedural justice and problem-solving.

These learning materials are made up of 6 modules, each of which has:

1. Short online videos (usual length about 6 – 8 minutes)
2. Resource materials and ‘tip sheets’

The modules are directed at various different approaches that can be used in courts. The videos feature court scenes, interviews, panel discussions and Magistrates talking about techniques they have found useful and that can benefit other judicial officers.

Module 1: Introduction 
Module 2: General techniques used in court
Module 3: Sentencing approaches
Module 4: Post-sentence judicial monitoring 
Module 5: Issues and Options 
Module 6: Conclusion - Eight key messages

NJC Logo

This project was made possible by funding from the Neighbourhood Justice Centre and the ACJI.

Thanks to Magistrate David Fanning
The Project Team would like to extend a special thanks to Magistrate David Fanning, not only for initiating this project but for giving his time so generously and engaging with the project in such a thoughtful and collaborative way.

About the Project Team
ACJI at Monash University creates a Project Team for each project in which it is involved. The Project Team for this Project consisted of: 

  • Professor Tania Sourdin (Director of ACJI - engaged in project design and review and film video interviews, conducted video reviews with external reviewers and reviewed all written materials);
  • Professor Arie Freiberg (Monash University - engaged in project design and facilitated the magistrates' panel sessions);
  • Liz Richardson (Senior Researcher and Project Director - principal author and Project manager, also directed videos and liaised with Magistrate David Fanning and others regarding the project design and review);
  • Ed Meyler (Videographer - created and edited all video content);
  • Wendy Gaddie (Senior Researcher - narrated content on videos and undertook all extra tasks as required)  
  • Alan Shanks (ACJI Centre Manager - took part in video reviews, constructed the online site and participated in the making of the videos);
  • Sarah Russell (Senior Researcher and Editor - edited all written and visual materials and compiled text for the online site);
  • Kylie Pearce (Monash University postgraduate student - participated in the making of the videos); and  
  • Ella Brown, Allie Warhby and Xavier Fanning (students who participated as actors in the making of the videos).