Against the Grain: Therapeutic Judging in a Traditional Family Court
Lens, V. (2015). Against the grain: Therapeutic judging in a traditional Family Court. Law & Social Inquiry. DOI: 10.1111/lsi.12153
18 Pages Posted: 17 Sep 2015
Date Written: September 16, 2015
The last several decades has seen a proliferation of specialized courts, including within the Family Court system, that deviate from the adversarial model, and which rely on therapeutic jurisprudence and other problem-solving techniques. Whether and how traditional family courts can incorporate the best practices of these specialized courts is a largely understudied area. Drawing from ethnographic observations of a traditional urban family court, this study finds that some judges are able to transform non-therapeutic courtrooms into therapeutic ones despite obstacles. These “against the grain” actors, who act contrary to the institution’s dominant norms and practices, demonstrate how therapeutic jurisprudence and other problem solving techniques can be utilized in traditional courtrooms.
Keywords: Therapeutic jurisprudence, Family Court, child welfare
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