The collaborative problem solving project: ten years on at the NJC

Jay Jordens1

1 Neighbourhood Justice Centre, 241 Wellington Street, Collingwood, VIC, 3066, Austalia

The Neighbourhood Justice Centre’s Problem Solving Process has steadily provided a collaborative approach to complex cases coming before the Court for the ten years of the NJC’s operation. Since presented at the first Non-Adversarial Justice Conference, the NJC problem solving process has further grown and developed to respond to cases of family violence and Children’s Court matters. Problem solving has earned and retained the trust and confidence of its stakeholders from within the NJC and more widely in the local community.

This presentation first situates the problem solving project within the prevailing social meta-narratives that define the landscape of social justice and determine the scope of what it possible in the care and rehabilitation of people in contact with the justice system. The presentation then sets out the core concepts and skills routinely applied in collaborative problem solving at the NJC. In turn, it considers from a practice-based perspective, how collaborative restorative approaches can be applied in the context of family violence, and the vexed issue of intimate partner violence and restorative justice.

Architect and convenor of problem solving at the NJC Jay Jordens will explain and illustrate collaborative approaches to solving complex problems in plain and accessible language. Jay will draw on his ten years of practice-based experience in this unique problem solving project, as well as referencing theoretical, legal and discursive influences on the development of the process.


Jay has worked at Neighborhood Justice Centre since it opened, and plays a pivotal role as the conduit between the Court, services and the local community, running collaborative problem solving processes informed by restorative practices. Previously, Jay worked in the Victorian community sector in many roles, in Cambodia as human rights advocate and investigator, and in health, harm reduction and most recently justice sector reform in Vietnam.Jay was awarded a 2016 Australian Government Endeavour Research Fellowship to undertake research on drug treatment and law reform in Vietnam, from which he has just returned.

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