The Compassionate Court: Reforming the Justice System Inside and Outside

American Judges Association, Court Review 57:2 Court Review 100-118 (2021)

21 Pages Posted: 19 Apr 2021

See all articles by Jamey H. Hueston

Jamey H. Hueston

Independent; The District Court of Maryland

Date Written: December 20, 2020


The Compassionate Court proposes a paradigm shift in the administration of justice by cohesively integrating compassion into every aspect of the court system – communications, systems, access and delivery of services, physical structures, spaces, and environment. This wide perspective factors human behavior and disabilities, along with community and societal influences that caused conflicts. It educates judges and court employees how to achieve quality interactions with citizens to create alternative therapeutic solutions and to improve case outcomes.

This article describes how the tripartite blend of procedural fairness, therapeutic jurisprudence, and judicial engagement shapes the framework for the Compassionate Court and cogently improves meaningful communications with the parties. Exterior courthouse architectural elements, landscape features, and transitions also importantly contribute to the compassionate environment by conveying justice system transparency in combination with easily navigable interior spaces and courtrooms and that reflect calm, openness, and safety.

Significantly, a more positive court milieu results when the court system and its employees engage compassionate and related mindfulness techniques. These approaches reduce stress, and dramatically promote judicial wellness as practitioners benefit from contributing to solution-driven, therapeutic processes. The result is a court system whose focus is on the wellbeing of those receiving, as well as those dispensing justice, not just resolving the narrow issue at bar.

The Compassionate Court approach revolutionizes enhances court system thinking and outcomes by coalescing tangible and non-tangible components that notably contribute to the compassionate environment. This article provides the roadmap.

Keywords: procedural fairness, therapeutic jurisprudence, judicial engagement, court compassion, judicial wellness, meditation, court architecture

JEL Classification: z38,

Suggested Citation

Hueston, Jamey and Hueston, Jamey, The Compassionate Court: Reforming the Justice System Inside and Outside (December 20, 2020). American Judges Association, Court Review 57:2 Court Review 100-118 (2021) , Available at SSRN:

Jamey Hueston (Contact Author)

The District Court of Maryland ( email )

Baltimore, MD
United States

Independent ( email )

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