2015 Ian Axford (New Zealand) Fellow Ziyad Hopkins, presenting his research on Diverted from Counsel: Filling the Rights Gap in New Zealand’s Youth Justice Model.
Ziyad, a Boston-based attorney, works Youth Advocacy Division for the public defender’s office. During his Fellowship, he was hosted by the Ministries of Social Development and Justice.
Ziyad’s report provides observation and commentary on the following question: What are the merits of increasing access to Youth Advocates, specialised lawyers for young people facing criminal allegations, within the youth justice sector? The release of the Youth Crime Action Plan 2013-2023 (YCAP) marks a period of reflection and focus on New Zealand’s youth justice sector and the landmark Children, Young Persons and Their Families Act 1989 (CYPFA). This policy analysis reviews CYPFA, and the implementation of youth justice, from a rights-based perspective.
This report can be downloaded by clicking here.
Despite the well-earned positive international reputation of New Zealand’s youth justice model, many young New Zealanders miss out on legal advice. Approximately 80 per cent of youth charges are addressed informally, before court proceedings and the appointment of a lawyer. Drawing on interviews and observations from all phases of youth justice—from apprehension through sentencing— the report argues that increasing young people’s meaningful access to trained Youth Advocates can ensure their individual rights when faced with state intervention whilst also promoting youth development. Mindful of budgetary restraints, but also with the need to promote equity, the report recommends five specific actions that can align New Zealand’s youth justice sector with principles expressed in CYPFA; the UN Convention on the Rights of Children; and positive youth development:
For Massachusetts, the New Zealand experience—with the protections of access to legal advice– offers three important opportunities to adapt practice:
The Ian Axford (New Zealand) Fellowships in Public Policy programme offers outstanding American professionals the opportunity to gain experience in public policy in New Zealand, and to gain first-hand knowledge of economic, social and political reforms, and management of the government sector.
The programme has three goals: to reinforce New Zealand-United States links; to improve public policy practice in both countries by the cross-fertilisation of ideas and experience; and to build an ongoing network of public policy experts on both sides of the Pacific. Towards the end of their Fellowships, the Fellows publish policy reports at a series of public seminars. We encourage members of the public service to attend these seminars, in order to learn about interesting projects that have been undertaken by practitioners who have a US perspective.
These seminars are jointly presented by IPANZ, the School of Government at Victoria University of Wellington and Fulbright New Zealand.