Champion of youth justice passes away

The man credited with overhauling New Zealand's youth justice system has died in Auckland, aged 77.

Legal colleagues say Judge Mick Brown was a revolutionary who ushered in a new way of dealing with young people that continues to inspire countries around the world.

In 1989 his approach to youth inspired law changes which saw a shift away from charging young people unless the public interest demanded it, and the introduction of family group conferences.

"It was a sea change from the way young people have been dealt with around the world around that time," Principal Youth Court Judge Andrew Becroft said.

In 2001 his report on the workings of Child, Youth and Family resulted in significant changes to the way the department functioned.

Judge Brown was recognised with the Blake medal, as part of the Sir Peter Blake leadership awards, in 2013.

"This little part of the NZ justice system, in this little country, somewhat on the edge of the world in the youth justice sphere has boxed above it's weight. And it was really I guess you'd say Judge Brown who threw the first punch," Mr Becroft said.

"We owe Judge Brown a huge debt in New Zealand. We all still practise under his shadow. It's his vision that we implement and it's his legacy that we've inherited."

Legal colleagues say Judge Mick Brown was a revolutionary who ushered in a new way of dealing with our young people. Source: 1 NEWS


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