Chapter 5
Court specialisation for sexual violence cases


5.1In this chapter we discuss the advantages of court specialisation for sexual violence cases and what form that might take in New Zealand. Court specialisation involves applying a specialist approach to a particular area of law, to better address the complexities or sensitivities that area of law raises.

5.2We note that a proposal for a “specialist sexual violence court”, operating post-guilty plea, was put forward in our Issues Paper. The court as proposed was limited to cases where the perpetrator had pleaded guilty and agreed to receive treatment interventions which would be taken into account at sentencing. The proposal received a great deal of support from submitters although some individual submissions raised concern as to resource feasibility of such a court.347 We comment on this proposal in this chapter.

5.3We also look at other possible ways of adopting a specialised approach to the handling of sex offences in the court system: a specialist court designed to reduce secondary victimisation; specially accredited or trained judges to sit on sexual violence cases; and specially accredited or trained lawyers to prosecute or defend sexual violence cases.

347Law Commission Alternative Pre-trial and Trial Processes: Summary of Submissions to Consultation (December 2012).