Hon Peggy Fulton Hora in Melbourne
Monash Law Faculty has just had the pleasure of hosting a visit by Peggy Fulton Hora to Melbourne. It is not the best time of the year to be in Melbourne – it is winter and we sent her off last night with the wind building pace and a huge storm imminent. Being originally from Perth, I shall be glad when the cold weather comes to an end.
Peggy Fulton Hora is well-known to many readers of this blog. She retired from the Superior Court of California after serving for over 20 years as a judge of that court. She has been a pioneer in the drug court movement and co-authored the pioneering article published in 1999 that presented therapeutic jurisprudence as the underlying theory of these courts. For more details concerning her background and achievements, see: www.judgehora.com
Peggy gave three lectures while she was here. On Monday night she gave a public lecture at Monash University Law Chambers in the legal precinct of Melbourne about her experience of drug courts. Given the move in Victoria towards a more extensive application of problem-solving methods, this was most timely. Her lecture was preceded by the launch of the book “Non-Adversarial Justice” by yours truly, Arie Freiberg, Becky Batagol and Ross Hyams (http://www.federationpress.com.au/bookstore/book.asp?isbn=9781862877474).
The book was launched by the Chief Magistrate of Victoria, who said some nice things about it. It can be challenging writing a book – this one had its own unique challenges in trying to do justice to a wide variety of justice system ideas and practices in one volume – and it is great to have a launch and to celebrate the completion of the book. It remains to be seen whether I will still be celebrating when the reviews come in!!
Yesterday, Peggy spoke at a lunchtime seminar at the Monash Faculty of Law about why drug courts work and then spoke to my students in the unit non-adversarial justice about drug courts and other problem-solving courts. She is a most inspiring speaker. Australia is distant from much of the world and to have an internationally regarded expert in a field from outside the country address students is a comparatively rare privilege.
Peggy is in Australia as part of the thinkers in residence program that the South Australian government runs (http://www.thinkers.sa.gov.au/home.html). The program attracts prominent people in their field to explore local practices concerning their area of expertise and suggest areas for reform. Peggy’s appointment of course relates to the justice system. Her background in the justice system, problem-solving courts and therapeutic jurisprudence will, I hope, lead to a greater exploration of the use of TJ and problem-solving court approaches in the justice system of South Australia and Australia generally. Peggy returns to Australia for a further thinker in residence visit next year and will be speaking at the Non-Adversarial Justice conference in Melbourne in May (http://aija.org.au/NAJ%202010/NAJ%20Flyer.pdf).