His Honour Judge John Walker was appointedto the role of Principal Youth Court Judge for New Zealand in 2016.
Born in Belfast, Ireland, Judge Walker graduated with an LLB from Victoria University of Wellington. Hewas admitted to the bar in 1976 and practised with Macalister Mazengarb and then as a barrister at Harbour Chambers until appointment to the District Court Bench in 1994.
Judge Walkerhas been instrumental in the development of court assisted interventions for alcohol and other drug dependency, including the establishment of the Youth Drug Court in Christchurch and the Adult Drug Courts in Auckland. During his time as Resident Judge for the Porirua District Court, Judge Walker encouraged better engagement between the Court and the community, mainstreaming the community justice centre model and developing a solution focused judging approach. In recent years,Judge Walker has been leading the development of District Court responses to Family Violence. A focus for Judge Walker is the implementation of Young Adult List pilot, a court for 18-25 year olds taking Youth Court approaches into the Adult Court,in Porirua, which has recently begun. Judge Walker is engaged in the education of judges through the Institute of Judicial Studies on a number of subjects, including the use of the court processes to encourage offender engagement in programmes addressing the underlying causes of offending, Family Violence, and judicial leadership.Back to speakers