Dr Katey Thom

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Senior Lecturer

Phone: +64 9 921 9999 – ext: 7744

Email: katey.thom@aut.ac.nz

ORCID: ORCID logo  https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7639-3993


  • PhD, health sciences, University of Auckland
  • MA (Distinction), sociology, University of Canterbury   
  • BA (first class honours), sociology, University of Canterbury  

Memberships and Affiliations:


Katey is an interdisciplinary social science researcher exploring the spaces where law and health interface. Before moving to Auckland from her hometown of Christchurch, Katey studied sociology at the University of Canterbury completing Masters research on the use of ecstasy within the electronic dance music scene. After working as a research assistant for two years in the Centre for Mental Health Research at the University of Auckland, she embarked on her PhD journey which was confirmed in 2010. Katey’s PhD thesis explored the role of forensic psychiatrists when acting as expert witnesses in trials involving the defence of insanity. Katey co-directed the Centre for Mental Health and worked as a senior research fellow at the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, University of Auckland, until she joined the School of Law at AUT in 2018.

Teaching Areas:

  • Mental health and the law
  • Research methods
  • Non-adversarial justice 

Research Areas:

  • Mental health and addictions
  • Socio-legal studies
  • Qualitative research
  • Co-production methodology  

Research Summary:

Katey has a keen interest in socio-legal studies examining mental health law and criminal law in practice with the aim of informing policy, practice and legal reform to improve outcomes for some of the most marginalised people in society. Her current research has a strong focus on social justice issues in mental health, covering various aspects of mental health law, human rights and therapeutic initiatives within the criminal justice system.  Katey has led a Royal Society of New Zealand Marsden funded project on the therapeutic nature of New Zealand's specialist courts. Other research has considered the role of advance care planning in mental health, mental health review tribunals, the role of district inspectors and the implications of the United Nation Convention for the Rights of Persons with Disability in New Zealand. She is currently leading a Borrin Foundation funded project to re-envisage the criminal justice system to better respond to people with intersecting mental health, addictions and criminal justice histories. Recently, her research focus has extended to working with the service users and the police to improve responses to citizens in mental distress.

Current Research Projects:

  • Envisaging a solution-focused court system: What would a continuum of evidence-based interventions for mental health and addictions related offending look like? The Borrin Foundation.



  1. Holman, G., O'Brien, A. & Thom, K. (2018). Police and mental health responses to mental health crisis in the Waikato region of New Zealand. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/inm.12440.
  2. Thom, K., Black, S. & Pene, R. (2018). Crafting a culturally competent drug court: A case study of Te Whare Whakapiki Wairua/The Alcohol and other Drug Court. Special issue: International Journal of Therapeutic Jurisprudence.
  3. Mills, A. & Thom, K. (2018). Family Violence Courts in New Zealand: 'Therapeutic' for Whom?. Special issue: International Journal of Therapeutic Jurisprudence.
  4. Thom, K. & Burnside, D. (2018). Sharing power in criminal justice: The potential of co-production for offenders experiencing mental health and addictions in New Zealand. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/inm.
  5. Thom, K. & Black, S. (2018). Nga Whenu Raranga/Weaving Strands in the Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Court of Aotearoa/New Zealand. Journal of Law and Medicine, 25(3), 727-740.
  6. Thom, K. A. (2017). Exploring Te Whare Whakapiki/The Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Court Pilot: Theory, Practice and Known Outcomes. Te Wharenga: The New Zealand Criminal Law Review, 180.
  7. Black, S., Kidd, J., Thom, K., Mills, A., McIntosh, T. & Quince, K. (2017). Researching Ngā Kōti Rangatahi - Youth Courts on Marae: Koia te Hangaitanga - That’s the right way?. The Ethnographic Edge, 1(1), 33-45.
  8. Thom, K. (2014). New Zealand Mental Health Review Tribunal characteristics and outcomes 1993–2011. Australasian Psychiatry, 22, 341-344.
  9. O'Brien, A. J. & Thom, K. (2014). Police use of TASER devices in mental health emergencies: A review. International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, 37(4), 420426.
  10. Thom, K. & Nakarada-Kordic, I. (2014). Mental Health Review Tribunals in action: A systematic review of the empirical literature. Psychiatry, Psychology and Law, 21(1), 112-126.
  11. Thom, K., Finlayson, M. & McKenna, B. (2011). Insanity, methamphetamine and psychiatric expertise in New Zealand courtrooms. Journal of Law and Medicine, 18(4), 749-758.
  12. Thom, K. A. & Finlayson, M. (2011). 'They're not really doing 'normal' psychiatry': The legal shaping of psychiatric expertise in insanity trials. Psychiatry, Psychology and the Law, 20(1), 46-59.

Book chapters

  1. Thom, K. & Black, S. (2018, Accepted). Researching with communities to explore New Zealand specialist criminal courts and therapeutic jurisprudence. In: N. Stobbs, L. Bartels & M. Vols (Eds.). The method and practice of therapeutic jurisprudence. Durham, North Carolina: Carolina Academic Press.
  2. Thom, K. (2015). New Zealand’s solution focused movement: Development, current practices and future Possibilities. In: W. Brookbanks (Ed). Therapeutic jurisprudence: New Zealand Perspectives. Auckland: Thomson Reuters.
  3. Richardson, L., Thom, K. & McKenna, B. (2013). The evolution of problem-solving courts in Australia and New Zealand: A Trans-Tasman comparative perspective. In: R. Weiner & E. Brank (Eds). Special problem-solving courts: Social science and legal perspectives. New York: Springer Press.


  1. Thom, K. & Black, S. (2017). Ngā whenu raranga/Weaving strands: #1. The therapeutic framework of Te Whare Whakapiki Wairua/The Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Court. Auckland: University of Auckland. Retrieved from http://www.justicespeakersinternational.com/new-zealands-aodtc-court/.
  2. Mills, A., Thom, K., Maynard, A., Meehan, C., Kidd, J., Newcombe, D. A. & Widdowson, D. (2015). Meeting the housing needs of vulnerable populations in New Zealand. Auckland: Transforming Cities, University of Auckland. Retrieved from http://www.communityhousing.org.nz/.
  3. Thom, K., Mills, A., Meehan, C. & McKenna, B. (2013). Evaluating problem-solving courts in New Zealand: A synopsis report. Auckland: Centre for Mental Health Research. Retrieved from http://www.lawfoundation.org.nz/.
  4. McKenna, B. G., Thom, K. A., Edwards, G., Nairn, R. G. R., O'Brien, A. J. & Leary, I. (2010). Reporting of suicide in New Zealand media: Content and case study analysis. Wellington: Ministry of Health. Retrieved from http://www.tepou.co.nz/.


  • 2014, University of Auckland Early Career Research Excellence Award
  • 2013, University of Auckland Women in Leadership Programme
  • 2011, University of Auckland Future Research Leaders Programme
  • 2010- 2011, Secured Seelye Fellowship Award for visitor Professor Perlin
  • 2008, University of Auckland Universitas 21 Doctoral Student Mobility Award 
  • 2007, University of Auckland Doctoral Scholarship