Therapeutic Jurisprudence: An Overview
Thomas M. Cooley Law Review, Vol. 17, pp. 125-134, 2000
10 Pages Posted: 17 Jan 2001
This article is the printed version of a lecture given at the Cooley Law School as part of a symposium on disability law. Therapeutic jurisprudence is an interdisciplinary perspective that looks at the law itself as a potential therapeutic agent. It focuses on the impact of the law on emotional life and psychological well-being, The law consists of the law in action, and not merely the law on the books, and law is defined to include legal rules, legal procedures, and the roles of legal actors. One thrust of therapeutic jurisprudence is law reform, but another important dimension is in exploring ways in which the existing law may be more therapeutically applied. The latter aspect of therapeutic jurisprudence enables psychological insights to be effectively employed in judging and in the day-to-day practice of the law. The article provides examples of therapeutic jurisprudence, both in its law reform and in its practice dimension, and illustrates how promising psychological literature may be creatively imported into the law and the legal system.
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By Enid Coetzee