Registry Planning Process in a Community Justice Model

Mr Damian James1

1Neighbourhood Justice Centre, Collingwood, Australia

The Neighbourhood Justice Centre (NJC) is home to a multi-jurisdictional Court supported by a Registry staffed by three Registrars, one Trainee and a Neighbourhood Justice Officer (NJO). The NJO is a legislated position within the Court unique to the NJC which acts as conduit between the Court, support services and community partners.

The NJC operates within a Community Justice framework. The court is underpinned by legislation that requires it to apply therapeutic and restorative approaches to the administration of justice.

The NJC Registry model emphasises customer service as a facet of the Community Justice Model. Commitments to delivering community justice outcomes are additional to ‘ordinary’ Registry activity and thus must be managed within the threshold of tolerance of the available resources.

In early 2015, the NJC Senior Registrar hatched the idea of running a one-day planning event involving the five Registry staff and with the aim of forward planning. This planning day was an important step in identifying, with greater clarity and specificity, workload challenges, the threshold issues that arise from them and how effectiveness and efficiency targets may be impacted in the short and medium term.  It was an opportunity to review operations and reflect on work culture, and conduct ongoing planning.

The 2015 meeting generated a statement of values and principles that in a clear and well communicated way aligned Registry operations with the Community Justice Model. A further outcomes was the resolve to make Registry Planning Days an ongoing annual event. The recent 2016 Planning Day refined and streamlined the process, while incorporating greater components of future planning and problem solving.

This paper will describe the process and reflect on the outcomes of Registry Planning processes in a Community Court setting.


Damian has 28 years of Court administration experience. During his career, Damian has worked at the following Victorian jurisdictions: Magistrates’ Court, Supreme Court, County Court, Childrens’ Court, Victorian Civil & Administrative Tribunal (VCAT), and for the past 8 years has been the Senior Registrar at the Neighbourhood Justice Centre, Collingwood. Australia’s only community justice centre.

Damian has a passion for delivering quality customer service and leads a high functioning team working in a multi jurisdictional court utilising the principles of therapeutic jurisprudence.

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