Waikato Public Law and Policy Research Unit - Presentation

Date Wednesday 29 September 2021
Time 1pm - 2pm
Where Zoom ( )
Presenter Dr Richard Cornes (Essex Law School, Essex University, England)
Admission Cost Free

Law, Psychoanalysis, and Courts. A Timely Therapeutic Renaissance in the Age of AI

Freud, and others in his circle, saw potential for psychoanalysis to offer insight not only for those on the analyst’s couch, but also help better understand life outside the clinic. This included what psychoanalysis might offer legal thinking. Hans Kelsen, a member of Freud’s weekly discussion groups, and from 1911 a member of the Viennese Psychoanalytic Society, made use of Freudian concepts in a number of his writings on the nature of the state, and individuals within in it. Across the Atlantic, US legal realists Jerome Frank (who underwent psychoanalysis), and Benjamin Cardozo embraced psychoanalysis as a new way to understand law’s operations.

After a break of some decades, there is a renaissance happening in thinking about law, and legal processes, from a psychoanalytic perspective. This renaissance has disciplinary friends in two fields of socio-legal work: law and emotion studies, (in particular in some research methods), and therapeutic jurisprudence (which in its early days was almost christened ‘juridical psychotherapy.’)

Dr. Cornes’ presentation will set out a view that all courts, all the time, are carrying out (largely unknowingly) a psychotherapeutic function, and that cases before courts are examples of ‘litigation neurosis.’ After outlining the psychodynamics of litigation neurosis, he will suggest what it is about court processes that facilitate their therapeutic function. He will also discuss why it might be that traditional court processes may fail, opening a link between re-emergent law and psychoanalysis thinking, and the therapeutic jurisprudence movement. Dr Cornes will end with comments about the implications for courts’ psychotherapeutic role of technology, including the use of AI in the justice system.

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Meeting ID: 842 5351 4333