SOME CANADIAN PROBLEM SOLVING COURT PROCESSES
AbstractOver the past several years a series of specialized or problem solving courts or court processes have evolved within the criminal justice system in Canada. These courts are based upon the principles of Therapeutic Jurisprudence which regards the law (including its procedures and rules) itself as a social force which often produces both therapeutic and antitherapeutic consequences to the participants to the legal proceedings and society at large. Problem solving courts have arisen in criminal court cases involving drug offences, Domestic Violence, mental health related offences and Aboriginal justice. This paper will describe several problem solving courts and court processes in Canada along with their various characteristics. The objectives of these courts is to reduce recidivism by dealing with the underlying issues which cause the criminal behaviour, thereby assisting both offenders and victims alike. Therapeutic Jurisprudence and problem solving courts have been embraced as a matter of policy by the United States Conference of Chief Justices and the United States Conference of State Court Administrators in August 2000. In addition, the United States Trial Court Performance Standards of 1997 direct trial courts in the United States to be concerned with the social outcome of court cases and with whether the social problems are truly addressed by the outcome of judicial proceedings. In Canada, the 1996 sentencing provisions added to the Criminal Code of Canada, along with subsequent interpretations of that legislation by the Supreme Court of Canada, have added significant emphasis to restorative justice objectives in sentencing, and thus community based dispositions. Problem solving courts have evolved in response to this fundamental shift in emphasis within the criminal justice system.
Keywords:Civil Procedure, Courts, Judges
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