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Much has been written about therapeutic jurisprudence since it first emerged as a “tonic for what ails mental health law” (Paul S Appelbaum) in the late 1980s. Since then it has emerged as a credible “social-psychology of the law” in general, exploring the potential role of the law as a healing agent. Its foundational premise, namely, that the law itself can function as a therapist or therapeutic agent, is set against the recognition that legal rules and procedures, and the roles of judges and lawyers are also social forces, that can produce both therapeutic and anti-therapeutic outcomes. By changing the ways in which law and legal procedures are constructed, and by altering the forms in which law is practiced, it is possible to reconfigure some domains of law so that the law is able to operate more effectively as a therapeutic agent.
The book explores the therapeutic potential of law in an eclectic range of subject areas. These include the role of apology, problem gambling, employment dispute resolution, problem-solving courts, and the Maori experience of law. The book is divided into two parts, exploring theoretical and practice issues respectively. It covers new ground by examining the role of therapeutic jurisprudence in Corrections, the Coroners Court and in judging in civil and commercial litigation, and offers insights on the relationship between therapeutic jurisprudence and restorative justice, the challenges of sanism and self-reflexivity in judicial decision-making and the prospects for narrative lawyering. Its purpose is to expand the emerging discourse around therapeutic jurisprudence as a new methodology for legal problem solving while offering a practical insight into therapeutic jurisprudence in the New Zealand legal system.
Therapeutic Jurisprudence: New Zealand Perspectives is a resource for academics, legal practitioners, mental health and other support professionals, and students of these disciplines.