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Scoping paper: Transforming the criminal courts : politics, managerialism, consumerism, therapeutic jurisprudence and change


The aim of this scoping paper is to highlight how criminal courts in Australia have evolved over time, the political, economic, social and intellectual forces that have driven these modifications, and how these changes can inform the future of criminal courts in this country. The paper discusses the challenges facing Australia's criminal courts, including the failure of the criminal justice system to reduce crime, the problem of inadequate resources, and the political, economic and social context of cost efficiency, managerialism and consumerism as well as pressure from rights based organisations. The paper also examines the movement of Australian criminal courts towards a more therapeutic model of jurisprudence, as observed in the establishment of court support services for witnesses, offenders and victims, and initiatives such as problem solving courts (e.g. drug courts and domestic or family violence courts) and restorative justice enterprises. The findings of evaluations of drug courts and restorative justice processes are discussed, and the paper concludes by assessing the likely impact of change on Australia's courts in the future, and by setting out an agenda for future research.

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