Judge McElrea Restorative Justice Collection

Publication Date 
27 November 2017
Judge Fred McElrea and David Thompson

Two Law Commission advisers recently attended the Wellington launch of Napier Library’s greatly expanded and enhanced online collection of Judge Fred McElrea’s ground-breaking restorative justice papers.

Judge McElrea, now retired, is regarded as a pioneer of restorative justice reform, within New Zealand and internationally.

The collection has featured in a skeletal form on Napier Libraries’ website for many years, as part of the Napier Pilot City initiative. Judge McElrea chose Napier as the site to host the collection as it complements the John Robson collection on restorative justice, also cared for by Napier Libraries.

He initially became involved in restorative justice through his work as a Youth Court Judge, with what was then a new piece of legislation, the Children, Young Persons and their Families Act 1989, which introduced the family group conference procedure.

“This struck me as a new model of justice, working on quite different principles to traditional adversarial justice, which I saw at work in the District Court,” Judge McElrea recalls.

Law Commission Legal and Policy Adviser Karen Yates says the Napier Libraries’ McElrea collection is a valuable research tool for the law reform community.

The McElrea papers date from 1992. The collection has been updated with the help of Auckland-based editor and trained lawyer David Thompson.

Now complete with reader/researcher aids and a foreword by the “grandfather of restorative justice”, Professor Howard Zehr of Pennsylvania, the McElrea collection numbers some 80 papers, including work by others that his writings refer to and some court judgments where he or others applied restorative justice.

To view the collection, go to: https://www.napierlibrary.co.nz/collections/judge-mcelrea-papers