A Wellington district court judge who has pushed for better access to information in family violence cases is the new Principal Youth Court Judge.

Judge John Walker's appointment follows former Principal Youth Court Judge Andrew Becroft taking up the role of Children's Commissioner.

Walker was admitted to the bar in 1975, and worked as a barrister at Macalister Mazengarb in Wellington before his appointment as a judge in 1994.

He has acted as both Principal Youth Court Judge and Chief District Court Judge, and was Executive Judge for the Wellington region from 2004-2010.


Walker was involved in the development of the Youth Drug Court in Christchurch, and has had leading roles in improving how family violence cases are handled.

That includes a new pilot programme beginning last year that gives judges access to more information about a defendant's family violence record.