A Message From The Chief Judge About
Nova Scotia's Therapeutic Court Programs
Pamela S. Williams
Judges who preside over these programs work in a collaborative environment where therapeutic and restorative practices are used to help people, often vulnerable and marginalized, who struggle with mental health disorders and addictions and who find themselves in conflict with the law.
Collaborative and creative problem solving are central to the work of these court programs. The “Court Team” is made up of dedicated people, from the fields of justice as well as mental health and addictions, who work closely with other community and government agencies.
These programs are voluntary; a participant can choose to leave it and return to the regular court system at any point in the process. The Court Team may also decide to return a participant to regular court if he or she is not prepared to follow his or her support plan.
Experience teaches that the adversarial legal system is not always effective in every courtroom. Therapeutic and restorative approaches can and do offer viable alternatives in the criminal justice system.