Working Document on Sustainable Justice (A full translation of a Dutch paper: 'Werkdocument Duurzame Rechtspraak')
Prepared for an Expert Meeting on Sustainable Justice held on 2 December 2011 in Utrecht, the Netherlands, organized by the Montaigne Center for Judicial Administration and Conflict Resolution, University of Utrecht
20 Pages Posted: 12 Feb 2013 Last revised: 21 Feb 2013
Date Written: December 2, 2011
This Working Paper identifies the position that court justice occupies in the context of the pursuit of sustainability and in improving the quality of society as a whole. The purpose of court justice is to create, promote and maintain balanced, healthy and righteous interpersonal relationships. Court justice occupies a key position in society as a pillar of the rule of law in a static sense, while in a dynamic sense it holds the keys to steer in the quality of inter humane relationships, or the 'societal ecology'. Striving for sustainability is not only related to natural environments, but also to social environments. Consideration of the justice system from the point of view of the pursuit for sustainability is therefore a logical step.
Thinking in terms of sustainability, social ecology and the quality of inter humane relationships is a paradigm change in the justice system. It involves constructive engagement of judicial power to improve the 'social ecology' and provides a framework for developing a justice system which is of greater importance to society.
The author asserts that the introduction of mediation and ADR, the development of Drug Courts, Problem-Solving Courts, Therapeutic Jurisprudence, Restorative Justice, and the increased focus on integrated conflict resolution are symptoms of the impact that the global wave of sustainability has on the judicial system. This paradigm shift has introduced a new focus in court justice which is oriented on a better future and on improvement of relationships between parties in litigation and resolution of abuses in society. The shift started in the 80th and will ultimately penetrate the whole legal system.
The sustainability perspective unlocks a wonderful vision of the justice system and forms an inspiring guiding principle for courts of the future. The author asserts that principles of sustainable justice and social responsible justice will revamp the justice system and give it a new allure. It opens up new perspectives for transparency in the administration of justice on top.
Keywords: justice, sustainability, innovation, transparency, Therapeutic Jurisprudence, problem solving courts, restorative justice, non adversarial justice, retribution, ecology
JEL Classification: K10, K30, K32, K40, K41, K42, M14, M54, N40
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation