Law as Therapy

Unfortunately, most non-lawyers have little good to say about the legal system. But one research professor disagrees sharply.

It is his belief that legal proceedings can and should be therapeutic for the participants. And his paradigm is called therapeutic jurisprudence.

This mindset emphasizes how the law impacts on people’s lives and well-being, and how the quality of interactions between litigants and judges can affect litigants’ experiences of the legal system.

Under this schema, the law is a “dynamic social force”, which seems fitting and appropriate.

Some family court judges are prime examples of therapeutic jurisprudence. They extol to litigants the virtues of resolving disputes through mediation rather than litigation, not so much because it may save the parties money, but because it will benefit their children – and they will just plain be more satisfied with the outcome than if it is court-imposed.

If therapeutic jurisprudence fails to describe the current state of our legal system, it aptly describes the standard that all legal system professionals should aspire to.

Read more in this University of Arizona News article: Legal Proceedings can be Therapeutic, UA Researcher Finds.