Civil and Administrative Law

A lack of wellbeing is often a key reason why people are involved in civil litigation or are required to appear before a tribunal. Personal injury due to workplace accident, motor vehicle accident or other negligent or intentional act is one example. However, the lack of wellbeing may not be physical with any attendant psychological problems or purely psychological in nature. There may be dysfunction in relationships as in disputes between neighbours, families fighting over a deceased's estate or in commercial or contractual disputes between individuals or corporations. In the case of disciplinary tribunals, a professional may be alleged to have been neglectful in some aspect of his or her professional duty giving rise to some form of harm to a patient or client. The very cause of the alleged neglect may be a lack of wellbeing on the part of the professional.

Does the legislative framework for resolving disputes take into account the potential dysfunction that parties may experience? Do court and tribunal processes and the approach of lawyers promote their resolution, aggravate them or leave them unresolved? Do they promote therapeutic principles such as voice, validation, respect and self-determination? What can lawyers do to minimise negative effects of legal processes on client wellbeing? Are there alternatives to litigation? Can therapeutic judging processes be used in civil law proceedings?. These are some of the areas explored by therapeutic jurisprudence in the area of civil and administrative law.


Billings J, 'Therapeutic Jurisprudence in the Tribunal Context' Presentation delivered to the 'TJ: Trendy Jargon or Tool of Justice?' conference 26 October 2006.

Carroll R and Witzleb N, ‘“It’s Not Just about the Money” – Enhancing the Vindicatory Effect of Private Law Remedies’ (2011) 37 Monash University Law Review 216.

Elbers N, Akkermans AJ, Lockwood K, Craig A and Cameron I, ‘Factors that Challenge Health for People Involved in the Compensation Process Following a Motor Vehicle Crash: A Longitudinal Study’ (2015) 15 BMC Public Health 339.

Freckelton I, 'Disciplinary Investigations and Hearings: A Therapeutic Jurisprudence Perspective' in Reinhardt G and Cannon A (eds), Transforming Legal Processes in Court and Beyond (AIJA, 2007) 139.

Freckelton I, ‘Litigation, Art and Therapeutic Jurisprudence: The Travails of William Dobell’ (2015) 22(2) Psychiatry, Psychology and Law 161.

Freckelton I, ‘Social security entitlements, rehabilitation and therapeutic jurisprudence’ (2002) 9(3) Journal of Law and Medicine 261.

Freckelton I, 'Therapeutic Jurisprudence: Myth, Magic and Misinterpretations' Presentation delivered to the 'TJ: Trendy Jargon or Tool of Justice?' conference 26 October 2006.

King MS and Guthrie R, 'Using Alternative Therapeutic Intervention Strategies to Reduce the Costs and Anti-Therapeutic Effects of Work Stress and Litigation' (2007) 17 Journal of Judicial Administration 30.

Guthrie R and Monterosso S, ‘Legislating to prevent further harm to the harmed’ (2010) 21(3) Insurance Law Journal 179.

Kiel H, ‘Regulating impaired doctors: a snapshot from New South Wales’ (2013) 21(2) Journal of Law and Medicine 429.

Zwart-Hink A, Akkermans A and Van Wees K, ‘Compelled Apologies as a Legal Remedy: Some Thoughts from a Civil Law Jurisdiction’ (2014) 38 University of Western Australia Law Review 100.