Therapeutic Jurisprudence - A Strong Community and Maturing Discipline

Nigel Stobbs, Lorana Bartels, Michel Vols

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    This core belief, which unites members of the TJ community, is that the law has an agency, which may be either helpful (therapeutic) or harmful (anti-therapeutic). In saying that it has �agency,� we conceive of law not simply as an inanimate, reactive and abstract set of rules and processes, shaped and driven by external forces, but as a dynamic, organic and proactive social force, implemented by actors who have significant power and discretion to influence the extra-legal consequences of their legal work in both designing and applying law (for general discussion of the concepts of the therapeutic design of law (TDL) and therapeutic application of law (TAL), see Wexler 2015; this volume, Chapter 1). In characterizing that agency as �therapeutic,� we mean that, in its capacity as a social force of this nature, it can have both positive and negative consequences for the emotional and psychological wellbeing of all the individuals who come into contact with it and for all the human relationships it touches. By being aware of the existence, causes and consequences of these therapeutic and anti-therapeutic effects, even relatively small changes in how law is designed and applied can significantly improve its effectiveness and the way it contributes to a healthier and more resilient community.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationThe Methodology and Practice of Therapeutic Jurisprudence
    EditorsNigel Stobbs, Lorana Bartels & Michel Vols
    Place of PublicationDurham, United States
    PublisherCarolina Academic Press
    ISBN (Print)978-1-5310-0819-2
    Publication statusPublished - 2019


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