History of TJ

Therapeutic Jurisprudence was first conceptualised by the late Bruce Winick and David Wexler in the early 1990s in the mental health law field.

The TJ philosophy then underpinned the development of specialist/problem-solving/solution-focused courts such as drug courts and mental health courts.   A range of TJ practices were developed in these settings.   These practice have also been applied to varying degrees in some mainstream criminal courts.

More recently David Wexler has spoken about “mainstreaming TJ”, that is using TJ as a methodology for reform of the law (Therapeutic Design of the Law) and the legal processes (Therapeutic Application of the Law).

TJ has not been confined to criminal law settings.  It has also been used to consider improvements to wellbeing of people who are involved in a range of legal areas – wills & estates, planning law, tort law, contract law and other areas.

While TJ came out of the United States it has spread across the world.

Read about the history of TJ in this wonderful article by Professor Michael Perlin: “Have You Seen Dignity?”: The Story of the Development of Therapeutic Jurisprudence,  27 U.N.Z. Law Rev. 1135 (2017)

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