Brothers Karamazov written by Dostoevsky

Brothers Karamazov written by Dostoevsky in 1879 became an all-time best-seller which also provides us even today many useful insights into the field of “Therapeutic Jurisprudence”. Until recently there has been no general theory concerning the impact of legal processes upon participant wellbeing and its implications for attaining justice system objectives.

Admirers of the book include scientists such as Albert Einstein, philosophers Ludwig Wittgenstein and Martin Heidegger, as well as many other famous writers.

Sigmund Freud called it “the most magnificent novel ever written” and was fascinated with what he saw as its Oedipal themes. In 1928 Freud published a paper titled “Dostoevsky and Parricide” in which he investigated Dostoevsky’s own neuroses.

Dostoevsky considered the introduction of the European Jury trial and its adversarial justice and the alleged discovery of the truth would supplant Russia’s pure, Christian attitude to truth.

The Brothers Karamazov is a message for Russians and also all of us not to accept the court as the most civil and equitable means of achieving justice. Looking into the attorney’s statements, the lay and expert witnesses, the introduction of dubious expert witnesses on both sides of the trial, the judge, and public response to the trial, all capture well author’s disillusionment with Western Judicial reforms of the nineteenth century.

The experts contradict one another, and the doctor from Moscow and Doctor Herzenstube take the case to pursue their personal vendettas against each other, overall making “the expert testimony appear ludicrous.”

It is here that the value of Therapeutic jurisprudence becomes useful. TJ says that the processes used by courts, judicial officers, lawyers, and other justice system personnel can impede, promote or be neutral in relation to outcomes connected with participant wellbeing such as respect for the justice system and the law, offender rehabilitation, and addressing issues underlying legal disputes.

The fact that evidence can be misconstrued to deny the truth and the fact that evidence is essential to proving the truth indicates Dostoevsky’s belief that “evidence…is a two-edged sword that can cut either way.

It is also our goal to propose new processes to be added to the range of existing processes—such as in the use of mediation in civil, criminal, and family law cases and the establishment of special intervention courts or lists to address broader issues underlying legal problems where such an intervention is consistent with other justice system principles.

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