A framework for the evidence-based practice of therapeutic jurisprudence: A legal therapeutic alliance

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This paper provides a theoretical rationale for using the constructs of procedural justice, trust and self-determination as a framework to guide the evidence-based practice of therapeutic jurisprudence (TJ). The overarching purpose of TJ is to provide therapeutic outcomes to all participants in the legal system. This paper proposes that in legal decision-making, running a procedurally just process that generates trust amongst participants and allows the parties to experience self-determination, creates a dynamic akin to the therapeutic alliance, which, in therapy, is a reliable predictor of therapeutic outcomes. The paper argues that when a legal therapeutic alliance forms in a legal decision-making process then positive therapeutic outcomes are possible, and the process can be classified as one that accords with the philosophy of TJ. A subsequent argument is that a therapeutic court can be defined as one that enacts such a process. The paper concludes by explaining how the framework can provide both a guide to courts in designing TJ processes and an assessment framework to analyse legal decision-making processes for their therapeutic value.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101906
JournalInternational Journal of Law and Psychiatry
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2023

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