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Therapeutic Jurisprudence and Adversarial Injustice: Questioning Limits

Carson, David
June 4, 2015

Source: (2003) Western Criminology Review. 4(2): 124-133.

Interviewing, and then examining in court, children who report that they have been abused is difficult. Various reforms have been introduced in different countries to ameliorate the problems. But should we be reforming a rotten system? Why do we accept traditional frameworks for analysing legal issues so readily? We focus on the child in court when it is rare that an accusation will get that far. We perceive of it as a problem with the witness rather than with lawyers, who insist on asking questions with as much to do with tactics as any search for truth. There is so much analysis of the tip, so little of the frozen mass of thinking beneath. In doing so, we demonstrate our adoption of a narrow concept of power; we do not spend enough time examining why we accept so much that we do and ways that we naturally think. And what is the role of reformist movements, such as therapeutic jurisprudence and restorative justice, within this? With an emphasis on the behavioural, rather than the social sciences, do they postpone the more structural changes needed? And is it wrong to write an article without a clear conclusion, just encouraging thoughts?


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