Our criminal legal system ensures that the question of whether someone is guilty is determined according to rules of evidence, and that the rights of the accused are protected. However, the people most directly impacted by the crime – the victim and offender – have very little direct involvement. Victims often feel marginalised within criminal proceedings. Offenders can feel bewildered and overwhelmed by the weight of the adversarial system bearing down upon them. There is little space for recognition of the human element of the crime – how the victim has been harmed, and how the offender might take true responsibility for the harm. Restorative justice conferencing provides a safe, supportive forum in which the victim can tell their story directly to the offender, and the offender has the opportunity to acknowledge the harm they have caused. Participation can be an important step for victims' recovery. A conference can be a significant turning point for offenders, assisting them to set a new course for their lives.
The Centre for Innovative Justice, RMIT University (the CIJ), is running a pilot restorative justice conferencing program for people impacted by serious motor vehicle collisions – where a death or a serious injury has occurred. Lindi Wall will share her experiences of participating in a restorative justice conference through the CIJ’s program. Rob Hulls, CIJ Director and former Victorian Attorney-General will discuss the context of the development of the CIJ’s program. Nareeda Lewers of the CIJ will share insights from implementing the program.


Rob Hulls
Centre for Innovative Justice
Director

Biography: Rob Hulls began his career as a Solicitor for the Legal Aid Commission of Victoria and then worked for five years in Aboriginal Legal Aid work in Far North Queensland before going on to serve in Federal Parliament in the seat of Kennedy. Returning to Victoria, Rob entered state politics and, over the course of 11 years in Government, served as Victorian Attorney-General and a number of other key Ministerial portfolios, including as Deputy Premier. As Attorney-General, Rob instigated significant changes to Victoria's legal system which saw the establishment of the state's first Charter of Human Rights, the establishment of a range of specialist courts and a significant increase in the diversity of judicial appointments. In October 2012 Rob was appointed Adjunct Professor at RMIT and was invited to establish the new Centre for Innovative Justice as its inaugural Director. The CIJ’s objective is to develop, drive, and expand the capacity of the justice system to meet and adapt to the needs of its diverse users. The CIJ has facilitated the establishment of a multi-disciplinary practice on site with lawyers and social workers together with students providing wrap-around services to female prisoners.


Lindi Wall

Legal Professional and Restorative Justice Conference Participant Lindi Wall graduated from Nottingham University with BA (Hons) in Politics in 1974 and the University of Tasmania (LLB Hons) in 1989. She was in legal practice in Hobart from 1989 to 2008 specialising in civil litigation. Lindi is a former member of the Anti- Discrimination Tribunal (Tas), the Forensic Tribunal and has been a member of the Guardianship and Administration Board since 2005. Since 2008 Lindi has been working as a conciliator for the Tasmanian Dept of Justice in the Health Complaints Commission, the Magistrates Court and ADT. She was also a volunteer lawyer at Hobart Community Legal Service from 1989 until 2010 and a founding Board member of the Environmental Defenders Office (Tas) 1996-2016.

Biography: Lindi Wall graduated from Nottingham University with BA (Hons) in Politics in 1974 and the University of Tasmania (LLB Hons) in 1989. She was in legal practice in Hobart from 1989 to 2008 specialising in civil litigation. Lindi is a former member of the Anti- Discrimination Tribunal (Tas), the Forensic Tribunal and has been a member of the Guardianship and Administration Board since 2005. Since 2008 Lindi has been working as a conciliator for the Tasmanian Dept of Justice in the Health Complaints Commission, the Magistrates Court and ADT. She was also a volunteer lawyer at Hobart Community Legal Service from 1989 until 2010 and a founding Board member of the Environmental Defenders Office (Tas) 1996-2016.


Nareeda Lewers
Centre for Innovative Justice, RMIT University
Restorative Justice Project Coordinator Nareeda Lewers coordinates the Centre for Innovative Justice's Restorative Justice Conferencing Pilot Program. The program provides a process for people affected by serious motor vehicle collisions to be supported to meet each other face-to-face in a safe, respectful process.

Previously, Nareeda worked as a criminal lawyer in community legal centres and at Victoria Legal Aid. As a legal practitioner Nareeda was fortunate to work in a number of therapeutic jurisprudence initiatives including the Assessment and Referral Court (ARC), a therapeutic program at the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court for offenders with cognitive disabilities and serious mental health diagnoses, and the Neighbourhood Justice Centre (NJC), a multi-disciplinary court co-located with social support services and dedicated to addressing the underlying causes of harmful behaviour and tackling social disadvantage. Nareeda also has a background in legal research and policy, and has published in the areas of family law and multi-disciplinary legal practice.

Biography: Nareeda Lewers coordinates the Centre for Innovative Justice's Restorative Justice Conferencing Pilot Program. The program provides a process for people affected by serious motor vehicle collisions to be supported to meet each other face-to-face in a safe, respectful process.

Previously, Nareeda worked as a criminal lawyer in community legal centres and at Victoria Legal Aid. As a legal practitioner Nareeda was fortunate to work in a number of therapeutic jurisprudence initiatives including the Assessment and Referral Court (ARC), a therapeutic program at the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court for offenders with cognitive disabilities and serious mental health diagnoses, and the Neighbourhood Justice Centre (NJC), a multi-disciplinary court co-located with social support services and dedicated to addressing the underlying causes of harmful behaviour and tackling social disadvantage. Nareeda also has a background in legal research and policy, and has published in the areas of family law and multi-disciplinary legal practice.


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