An Analysis of Client Realism, Virtue Ethics and Comprehensive Justice
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In this paper I assert that at the foundations of Therapeutic Jurisprudence and the Comprehensive Justice Movement (Comprehensive Law Movement / Non-Adversarial Justice) lies in the interplay between client realism and the natural law virtue theory of justice. This paper seeks to examine that relationship in more detail by expanding our understanding of what is involved in client realism and examining how it harmonizes with Aristotelian virtue ethics and more contemporary conceptions of virtue ethics. This analysis follows upon my previous argument that Therapeutic Jurisprudence (TJ) can be seen as a normative system on two of three important levels. At Level 1 – Legal Practice, TJ asserts normative standards of practice. At Level 2 - Legal Theory, TJ delineates systemic developments that are required to achieve higher order goals of the justice system. However, at Level 3 – Legal Order, TJ does not mandate higher order normative standards, dictate overall purposes of law or define the overarching norms of justice. This is due to TJ’s respect for client realism: i.e. the idea that justice must be determined from clients’ needs and values, based upon clients’ choices regarding which rights to pursue or waive and which vectors are best employed to achieve the desired ends. Through a better understanding of client realism and contemporary analyses of natural law virtue theories of justice, it is hoped that the normative status of TJ at Level 3 will be clarified and TJ’s relationship amongst the various vectors of the Comprehensive Justice Movement will be more fully understood.