Therapeutic Justice

In her Work Plan 2020 speech, the Presiding Judge of the Family Justice Courts (FJC) Justice Debbie Ong announced that FJC and the family justice community will be co-creating a renewed vision of family justice informed by principles of therapeutic justice (TJ).    

The seeds of TJ were planted in the mid-1990s when mediation and counselling were incrementally introduced into the family justice system. The establishment of the FJC in 2014 as a single unified court marked a historical milestone and it was envisioned, at that time, that FJC would evolve to become a problem-solving court. TJ presents us with a common language with which to renew that vision together with all stakeholders in the community.

In essence, TJ is a “lens of care” through which we can examine the extent to which the legal landscape of substantive rules, laws and legal procedures, as well as the roles and behaviour of the family justice participants, produce helpful or harmful consequences.  This could lead to reform of laws and procedures as well as more intentional and helpful interventions by family practitioners and other professionals in the space.  It is hoped that our collective efforts to engender a mindset shift in the community that resolution of family disputes need not be adversarial in nature even when litigation is required. 

Here are some frequently asked questions on TJ.

FAQs for Therapeutic Justice – A Renewed Vision for Family Justice in Singapore