It is almost a year now since I have returned to the bench and have been the magistrate for the East Kimberley region of Western Australia. Yes, comprehensive law, therapeutic jurisprudence and non-adversarial justice have extended even to the remotest regions. My time for blogging has been limited, with the extensive circuit commitments that I have. But I have a short period now before I go on leave during which I can put thoughts to computer (and Internet).
Empowerment has been a central theme in my thinking and practice in relation to non-adversarial justice and therapeutic jurisprudence in recent years. Empowerment is a central theme of many of the vectors of the comprehensive law movement or non-adversarial justice. For example, restorative justice, therapeutic jurisprudence, creative problem solving, Indigenous sentencing courts, forms of ADR such as facilitative mediation and holistic law all highlight the value of empowerment in various contexts. Arguably one vector where it has not gained great prominence is problem solving courts. I will return to this shortly.
I remember the day I discovered the Law Review article by Stolle and Wexler.I had just become a Family Court Judge. I had as my vision that I could be the handmaiden of greater healing as a judge rather than as a lawyer.
The latter years of my divorce practice were esconced in high asset cases, surrounded by the wealthy who hungered for simple advice on values and spirit,wanting to be authentic in the face of the storm of dissent that only divorce can so beautifully unleash.
Try as I might, my clients would not turn to their churches, therapists,or other advisors but to me: for life instructions both for their divorce issues and for their futures.I had only success.My bills were paid,I received lavish gifts of jewelry and most importantly I received their love back.
A radio interview with David Wexler on Therapeutic Jurisprudence
Differing philosophies of justice administration in the U.S. focus alternately on punishment or rehabilitation. The therapeutic justice movement, which began in the late 1980’s, sees legal intervention as a means of addressing the underlying issues that lead a person to commit a crime. In effect, the justice system can be therapeutic for offenders. David Wexler first coined the term and has spent a great part of his career studying the approach. He joins us this Thursday for a conversation about therapeutic justice.