Therapeutic Jurisprudence Center to Launch at Miami Law
The University of Miami School of Law has recently established a Therapeutic Jurisprudence Center, which will be directed by Professor Bruce J. Winick. The Center is interdisciplinary in nature, and has ties to other departments and professors within the university. What follows [below and at the link above] is the new Center’s Mission Statement, a description of the scholarly approach of therapeutic jurisprudence, a list of planned activities, and a list of faculty members who will be involved in the work of the Center and the members of the Center’s Advisory Board.
The University of Miami School of Law Therapeutic Jurisprudence Center will conduct theoretical and empirical research, publish scholarly books, articles, and reports, perform training for judges and lawyers, conduct community programs, and hold conferences, symposia, and other educational programs locally, nationally, and internationally. It also will participate in existing and future clinical and skills training programs at the law school, helping to implement new models, to develop teaching materials, and to conduct research concerning these programs.
Colleagues from the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, the University of Miami Ethics Programs, the University of Miami School of Education and the University of Miami Department of Psychology will work with the Center and participate in its research. The Center will provide a structure to facilitate the continuation and expansion of such interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary work with faculty at the University of Miami and at other academic institutions.
Therapeutic jurisprudence is an interdisciplinary approach to legal scholarship and law reform that sees the law itself as a therapeutic agent. The basic insight of therapeutic jurisprudence is that legal rules, legal practices, and the way legal actors (such as judges and lawyers) play their roles impose inevitable consequences on the psychological well-being of those affected. Therapeutic jurisprudence calls for a study of these consequences with the tools of the behavioral sciences so that we can increase our understanding of law and how it is applied, and can reshape it to diminish its antitherapeutic effects and maximize its therapeutic potential. Therapeutic jurisprudence was founded in 1987 by Professor Bruce J. Winick of the University of Miami School of Law and Professor David B. Wexler of the University of Arizona College of Law and University of Puerto Rico School of Law. The field has grown enormously, and has emerged as a major force in mental health law and in law and psychology generally,and as a major scholarly approach in areas across the legal spectrum, including criminal, juvenile, and family law, health and disability law, constitutional law, employment law, and tort law. The field has generated approximately 45 books and 25 symposia issues in legal and interdisciplinary journals, as well as more than 900 articles by scholars in law, psychology, psychiatry, and philosophy in the U.S. and internationally. The field also has been influential on judging and lawyering in the U.S. and in many countries throughout the world.
Therapeutic jurisprudence has had an important impact internationally. The Third International Conference on Therapeutic Jurisprudence was held in June, 2006 in Perth, Australia, and included speakers from nine countries. In June/July of 2009, at the annual conference of the International Academy of Law and Mental Health, which will occur in New York City at the NYU School of Law, Professor Winick has organized 21 separate therapeutic jurisprudence sessions involving 97 therapeutic jurisprudence presentations by speakers from a dozen countries. Professor Winick is a frequent speaker at international meetings, and has brought therapeutic jurisprudence to countries throughout Europe, to Australia and New Zealand, and to Asia. Therapeutic jurisprudence work has been translated into Spanish, Italian, Hebrew, Japanese, and Urdu, and there is increasing interest in the work throughout the world.
Because Professor Winick has been a pioneer and major architect of therapeutic jurisprudence, it was natural for the University of Miami School of Law to have established a Therapeutic Jurisprudence Center to facilitate the further expansion of the field. Moreover, establishing a Therapeutic Jurisprudence Center at the law school will increase the law school's reputation within the law school and academic worlds generally, its ability to recruit faculty and students, and its ability to attract outside funding to support research and programmatic objectives. Having a Therapeutic Jurisprudence Center at the University of Miami will allow the university to capitalize on the increasing national and international interest in therapeutic jurisprudence. The Center will generate scholarship in a wide range of legal areas, including mental health law and law and psychology generally. Therapeutic jurisprudence has had an enormous impact on the courts and on the practice of the legal profession and the work of the Center will also include scholarship in the areas of judging, lawyering, and legal education. The work will be interdisciplinary in character, and will include both theoretical and empirical scholarship in these areas.
In addition to scholarship, The Center will sponsor academic and community programs and training sessions for judges, lawyers, scholars, and members of the community. The Center will also hold symposia and conferences at the law school and elsewhere, including an international conference on therapeutic jurisprudence in Miami.