Guest Blogger Hugh Koch writes that significant headway is being made in the UK and Sweden to develop concepts and practices in the application of therapeutic jurisprudence (TJ) to civil litigation…

Collaboration between an experienced law academic and psychologist is producing robust models of how therapeutic jurisprudence (TJ) principles – maximising therapeutic outcomes and minimising therapeutic outcomes of the law and the application of the law – – can be applied to the interacting work and behaviour of lawyers, judiciary, experts and claimants in civil litigation.

In the UK this is with the goal of continuing the aims and objectives of the Civil Procedure Rules implementation (1999). These changes to the justice system (UK Ministry of Justice, 1999) were aimed at:

  • improving the legal processes;
  • reducing time and costs; and
  • increasing fairness and equity for all parties.

In particular , the vehicle for conflict resolution in UK cases – the Joint Opinion process- has been a great success in helping the judiciary understand and be appropriately informed of similarities and differences in expert opinion.  This has been coupled with an innovative and successful approach to organisational change called ‘Total Quality Management (TQM)’ which addresses process improvement, customer responsiveness and staff empowerment.

It is argued that TJ and TQM can make a huge contribution to enhancing the speed and outcome of litigation, as well as improving participant satisfaction and both inter- professional and professional-claimant relationships.

In our practices, we have found that the provision of medical evidence which is rapid, accessible and meets the Courts requirements for impartiality, as well as contributing to effective Joint Opinion discussions has been one of many good examples of the TJ/TQM concept and practice.

Continuing Professional Education in the UK (CLT seminars in London and Manchester) have already started to spread the word about this initiative with further events planned in the UK and Sweden.

We would be very interested to hear the views of anyone anywhere who either has experience of these issues in the field of Civil cases or would be interested in contributing their ideas for future development and publication.

Dr Hugh Koch and Prof. Christian Diesen
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