Working in a new paradigm: lawyers, problem-solving courts and therapeutic jurisprudence in Western Australia

Deen Graeme Potter

Research output: ThesisMaster's Thesis

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[Truncated abstract] Therapeutic jurisprudence examines the impact that court processes have upon an individual’s overall well-being. By engaging the 'lens' of therapeutic jurisprudence it may be seen that some court processes can have a negative impact upon the physical, psychological and social wellbeing of those who are caught within the wheels of justice. Therapeutic jurisprudence promotes the use of court processes as vehicles towards healing. Where court processes can be seen to have anti-therapeutic results procedural change is encouraged. One practical manifestation of the application of therapeutic jurisprudence is the problem-solving court. These courts are most prevalent in the criminal jurisdiction and include family violence courts, drug courts and Indigenous community courts. Problem-solving courts utilise an inter-disciplinary, team-based approach to case-manage offenders through a rehabilitative process that engages the court as the hub of positive interaction. As will be seen from the research conducted for this paper these courts appear to be in stage of transition as they, and the principles of therapeutic jurisprudence, seek to cement their place in the legal and jurisprudential landscape. The expansion of problem-solving courts, particularly within the Western Australian criminal justice system, has been incremental but rapid. Into this brave new world steps the legal practitioner who is expected to adapt their practice of the law to an inter-disciplinary, team-based approach that places, at its centre, the holistic wellbeing of their client. This research paper examines the issues that the West Australian legal profession faces in being required to rapidly up-take new skills that enable competent practice in this challenging environment so removed from traditional approaches to the practice and procedures of criminal law.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 2011


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