Courtroom trials make good drama. Many of us were inspired to enter the field of law, influenced by movies and television shows depicting trial work. The truth is that while adjudicating disputes through an adversary system is entertaining, we are learning that it is not the best way to resolve many issues that are before us in the court system.
Across the nation, a revolution in the way we approach cases is taking place. This new way of doing business goes by different names. Sometimes it is called "problem-solving". It is also called "therapeutic justice". In California, the name "collaborative justice" has been widely adopted.
What is so different? The goal of the traditional adjudication is to determine the facts from the evidence presented, apply the law, and determine a legal outcome- guilt, liability, etc. The aim of the collaborative approach is to address the problems that brought the case to us, using the authority of the court, but in collaboration with the parties and their attorneys, and often outside agencies, in order to come up with the best possible outcome.
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