Sunday, October 1, 2023

‘Truly a David and Goliath case’: Six young people take 32 countries to court in unprecedented case

'Truly a David and Goliath case': Six young people take 32 countries to court in unprecedented case

The European Court of Human Rights will hear an "unprecedented" lawsuit on Wednesday, brought by six young people against 32 European countries accusing them of failing to tackle the human-caused climate crisis.

The claimants, between ages 11 and 24 and all from Portugal, will argue that they are on the frontlines of climate change and ask the court to force these countries to rapidly accelerate climate action.

It is the first climate case to be filed with the European Court of Human Rights and is the largest of a total of three climate lawsuits the court is hearing.

Click to read

Sunday, August 20, 2023

India’s supreme court issues handbook against use of archaic terms for women

India's supreme court issues handbook against use of archaic terms for women

India's supreme court has issued a handbook for judges urging them to shun words like seductress, vamp, spinster and harlot when talking about women.

Archaic terms that disparage women and perpetuate gender stereotypes can still be routinely heard in Indian courts long after falling into disuse in other countries. It is not unusual for a wife to be described as chaste or ladylike, and sexual harassment is routinely trivialised as "Eve-teasing".

The supreme court said its Handbook on Combating Gender Stereotypes was aimed at ensuring that "legal reasoning and writing is free of harmful notions about women".

Click to read

Saturday, August 12, 2023

Illinois Supreme Court upholds state’s ban on semi-automatic weapons

The Illinois Supreme Court has upheld the state's ban on the sale or possession of the type of semi-automatic weapons used in hundreds of mass killings nationally.

In a 4-3 decision Friday, the high court found that the Protect Our Communities Act does not violate the federal Constitution's guarantee of equal protection of the law nor the state constitution's bar on special legislation.

The court also decreed that state Rep. Dan Caulkins, a Decatur Republican, and like-minded gun-owners who brought the lawsuit had earlier waived their claims that the law infringes on the Second Amendment to own firearms and could not raise it before the Supreme Court.

Click to read

Monday, July 10, 2023

Israel does not have a right to self-defense for its occupation

Israel does not have a right to self-defense for its occupation

As Israel was invading and bombing Jenin this week, AIPAC was pumping out a simple message: "Israel is right to protect its citizens from terrorism." Others echoed the same line, often including the false theory that Iran—which supports and backs Palestinian armed militant groups such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad—actually controls the Palestinian resistance, implying, ridiculously, that but for Iranian malfeasance, Palestinians wouldn't be fighting against Israel's occupation. 

Israel's message from its own leaders makes the same case, with slightly different language. Opposition leader Yair Lapid, for example, put it this way: ""Our children are being slaughtered, and Israel has every right on earth to defend itself, and we from the opposition support the Israeli defense forces and the Israeli government on this matter." Lapid made that statement in English, meaning it was the version of Israel's message that was meant for foreign audiences, particularly Americans.

Click to read

Sunday, April 16, 2023

Harvard negotiator explains how to argue

Arguments are a necessary part of life, but they don't necessarily have to be fraught. Psychologist Dan Shapiro has identified three barriers to productive arguments: an us-versus-them identity, not showing appreciation, and a lack of affiliation. Breaking through these barriers requires us to be better listeners and to recategorize our sense of "us."

I hate arguments. I hate the way it feels when my blood pressure rises and the cortisol kicks in. I hate the frustration that comes from talking past one another or reaching an impasse on an important issue. I especially hate the awkward apologies I have to dole out the morning after — because I definitely shouldn't have said that, and yes, it was a cheap shot.

Click to read

Monday, January 16, 2023


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. This gap has been filled by Therapeutic Jurisprudence.

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 alleged discovery of 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 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.

At the AUGP TJ Centre, It is our desire, to be a strong proponents worldwide in adapting the use of more comprehensive, psychologically optimal, and emotionally intelligent means of dealing with conflicts.

 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.

Prof. Lakshman Madurasinghe


Saturday, December 24, 2022

Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, ending 50 years of federal abortion rights

The Supreme Court in a 6-3 decision on Friday overturned Roe v. Wade, the landmark ruling that established the constitutional right to abortion in the U.S. in 1973.

The court's controversial but expected ruling gives individual states the power to set their own abortion laws without concern of running afoul of Roe, which for nearly half a century had permitted abortions during the first two trimesters of pregnancy.

Almost half the states are expected to outlaw or severely restrict abortion as a result of the Supreme Court's decision. Other states plan to maintain more liberal rules governing the termination of pregnancies.

Click to read

Friday, August 19, 2022

Britain has a decision to make: the rule of Boris Johnson – or the rule of law?

Don't succumb to Johnson derangement syndrome, they tell us.

Stay calm. Keep a sense of proportion. Don't get carried away. As a matter of self-care, that might be good advice for those at risk of bursting a blood vessel in their rage at this government and its leader. But learning to shrug off Boris Johnson's conduct carries risks of its own. It can mean missing, or underreacting to, acts that merit furious opposition – such as when, before our very eyes, the prime minister destroys the principle that sits at the very foundation of a free society, a principle first codified in this country eight centuries ago and without which a life free of fear is impossible. I'm talking about the rule of law.

Click to read

Thursday, June 2, 2022

Why Johnny Depp lost his libel case in the UK but won in the US

The outcome of the Johnny Depp defamation trial turned a bit of celebrity jurisprudence on its head — the long-standing conventional wisdom that it's easier for a VIP to prevail with a libel claim in the United Kingdom than in the United States.

The reason, according to legal experts, may simply boil down to the fact that Depp's action against his ex-wife Amber Heard in the UK — which he lost — happened to be decided by a judge, whereas his case in the United States was decided by a jury.

 "The answer is simple," said George Freeman, executive director of the Media Law Resource Center. "It was up to the jury."

Click to read

Friday, May 20, 2022

Prosecutorial immunity is un-American and immoral


Since the advent of forensic DNA technology in 1989, more than 3,000 people have been exonerated in the United States after being wrongfully convicted of an array of crimes as simple as drug possession to as serious as capital murder. Texas has the second most exonerations of any state, with more than 400. Some of these miscarriages of justice were detected and remedied quickly, but other innocent men and women languished in prison for decades before the injustices against them were uncovered.

Often, these false convictions result from the fact that the police and prosecutors conceal evidence of a defendant’s innocence. And because of an unholy trinity of legal doctrines, they seldom face repercussions. That should change.

Click to read

Sunday, April 24, 2022

Why Law




Law is not the only way to try and control behavior. Psychological manipulation, brute force, and managerial direction are other alternatives. The complaints about law and lawyers are familiar. If you engage in legal processes, they can be slow, inefficient, complicated to navigate, expensive; and, in their process or in their outcomes, unjust. In the face of these complaints and the fact that we have alternatives to governance by law, why should rule by law shape some of the standards by which we evaluate the legitimacy of governments?

To be able to answer that question, we have to first understand what law is. The starting point for my response is a very simple and very thin understanding articulated by a scholar upon whose work I draw upon frequently: Lon Fuller. According to Fuller, law is “the enterprise of subjecting human conduct to the governance of rules.” A set of conditions need to be met in order for that to be possible. Rules have to take a certain form. We can’t govern our conduct on the basis of rules that are kept secret, so promulgation is needed. Neither can rules be contradictory, such that so we don’t know what to do, so rules must be consistent. Nor can rules tell me today what I needed to do yesterday, so rules must be prospective rather than retrospective.

Click to read

Monday, April 11, 2022

Emotional Intelligence in the Courtroom

In our society, the court system is quickly becoming a formative institution, performing functions previously relegated to home, family, religious institutions, and schools. Even the healing community is making its way into the court system with the advent of drug courts and other forms of therapeutic jurisprudence.  A judge’s leadership skills are critical in managing the changes in the system, the integrated relationships that develop as well as the impact on their own work. Those most successful will lead with their head and their heart. In Tahiti, there may not be a word for sadness. Nevertheless, the emotion is there with all the attendant signs and behaviors. What is missing is a language, a word that describes the feeling causing the behavior associated with sadness. This kind of literacy is important to develop here regarding emotional intelligence, awareness, and a language for communicating the connection between our cognitive brain and our affective brain, our mind, and our heart, and the result that kind of learning can have on our work and our lives.

Click to read

Saturday, April 2, 2022



Restorative justice and therapeutic jurisprudence highlight the importance of empowering parties, of actively involving them in dispute resolution processes, and of using processes that comprehensively address underlying issues.204 They also stress the value of helping parties manage emotions associated with their legal problems and the importance of professionals exercising emotional intelligence skills in their work. The values and processes they promote have significant implications for the functioning of courts, lawyers and the justice system in general. 

They challenge conventional thinking about courts, legal practice and the role of litigants and clients, while offering a richer and more professionally rewarding vision of their respective roles. However, they are not a panacea for the justice system’s problems. Restorative justice is not effective in all cases, and other values of the justice system may outweigh therapeutic values in particular cases.205 Nevertheless, there are good reasons for considering how therapeutic jurisprudence and restorative justice can be more extensively used in the justice system and how their values can be incorporated into legal education. In addition to providing knowledge of the law and its application and advocacy, legal education should provide the interpersonal, intrapersonal and problem-solving skills needed for a happy and successful professional life.

Click to read

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Love, Fear, and the Law of Good Intentions


Max Weber, citing Leon Trotsky at Brest-Litovsk, bluntly stated that “every state is founded on violence.” The imaginative theories that have been at times employed to justify the state violence do not fall under the scope of this article. What is analyzed here is the orderly way in which the state elites have jointly prepared the ground to dominate individuals in the fourth technological revolution.

Law and War

Pursuant to the standard definition of German sociologist Max Weber in “Politics as a Vocation” (1918), the state is “a human community that (successfully) claims the monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force within a given territory.” In other words, a state is nothing more than a narrow group of people (i.e., the government) who manage to exert violence on larger groups (i.e., the subjects) in a certain place (i.e., the territory).

Click to read

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Where AI and ethics meet


Given a swell of dire warnings about the future of artificial intelligence over the last few years, the field of AI ethics has become a hive of activity.

These warnings come from a variety of experts such as Oxford University’s Nick Bostrom, but also from more public figures such as Elon Musk and the late Stephen Hawking. The picture they paint is bleak.

In response, many have dreamed up sets of principles to guide AI researchers and help them negotiate the maze of human morality and ethics. A 2019 paper in Nature Machine Intelligence throws a spanner in the works by claiming that such high principles, while laudable, will not give us the ethical AI society we need.

The field of AI ethics is generally broken into two areas: one concerning the ethics guiding humans who develop AIs, and the other machine ethics, guiding the moral behaviour of the AIs or robots themselves. However, the two areas are not so easily separated.

Click to read