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Defender, spokesperson, therapist: representing the true interest of the client in therapeutic law
Department of Social Work, Stockholm University.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4540-5373
2007 (English)In: International Journal of Social Welfare, ISSN 1369-6866, E-ISSN 1468-2397, Vol. 16, no 4, 373-381 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The aim of this article is to analyse the role of the legal representative in therapeutic law, specifically in Swedish administrative court hearings relating to compulsory care. Data are collected from three types of cases where a health or social welfare authority argues that it is necessary to apply coercion to a citizen: the Care of Young Persons (Special Provisions) Act, the Care of Alcohol and Drug Abusers (Special Provisions) Act and the Compulsory Psychiatric Care Act. The data consist of audio-recordings from 39 hearings, supplemented by 28 interviews with participants in these hearings, and court documents. Three primary roles of the legal representatives are identified: defender, spokesperson and therapist. We show how the primary role of the attorney becomes that of the spokesperson, but also that the role of the therapist takes precedence over that of the defender.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2007. Vol. 16, no 4, 373-381 p.
Keyword [en]
lawyer; attorney; legal representation; court hearings; compulsory care; therapeutic law; therapeutic jurisprudence; sociology of law; best interest
National Category
Social Work
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-5372DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-2397.2007.00490.xISI: 000249662200009OAI: diva2:144869

Article first published online: 21 FEB 2007

Available from: 2006-10-05 Created: 2006-10-05 Last updated: 2015-11-11Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Terapeutens rätt: rättslig och terapeutisk logik i domstolsförhandlingar
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Terapeutens rätt: rättslig och terapeutisk logik i domstolsförhandlingar
2006 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In this dissertation, I explore a quite unique legal situation, namely administrative court hearings relating to coercive interventions: the Care of Young Persons Act (LVU), Care of Abusers (Special Provisions) Act (LVM), and the Compulsory Psychiatric Care Act (LPT). There are three central participatory roles in the court hearings: The official party is the authority who files the application for coercive intervention – either a chief psychiatrist or a social welfare board (typically represented by a social worker or sometimes a lawyer assisted by a social worker), whereas the citizen party is the person about whom the application is brought. The citizen party is represented by a legal representative. The professionals represent two different logics: therapeutic and judicial.

The purpose of this dissertation has been to study the tension between therapeutic and judicial logic in court hearings relating to compulsory care. With theoretical concepts from Scott (1995) and Wetherell & Potter (1998), it is possible to say that the therapeutic and judicial logics are built up by institutional elements that are communicated through interpretative repertoires. Three questions are central:

1. How do professional participators handle the different role expectations embedded in therapeutic and judicial logic? In this case, I am particularly interested in role conflicts faced by social workers and psychiatrists.

2. How do different institutional elements (regulative, normative/cognitive) play out in the court hearings?

3. To what extent can these court hearings be considered a scrutinizing order of discourse, where the arguments of official party are subjected to critical examination?

In my analysis I am inspired by both critical discourse analysis and organizational theory, more precisely, new institutionalism. These two perspectives provide useful insights and make it possible to combine the micro- and macro levels in the analysis. Data for the analysis consist of 43 court hearings and 31 interviews, gathered from two different county administrative courts in Sweden. All written documents used and produced by the courts are also part of our data.

The dissertation consists of five studies that indicate that the court hearings hardly can be described as a scrutinising order of discourse. In spite of this, the court constantly finds that the legal criteria for coercive intervention are satisfied. Neither the official party nor the legal representative argue according to a judicial logic. Instead, therapeutic logic dominates the order of discourse. When the arguments for compulsory care are therapeutic, they are not explicitly related to the criteria in the law. In my interpretation, the reason why the conflict between therapeutic and judicial logic is not realised can be found in the existence of a logic of normalisation. This ideological logic of normalisation can be found in most of the institutions in the Swedish society and are built on the idea of traditional welfare norms.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Socialt arbete, 2006. 97 (258) p.
Studier i socialt arbete vid Umeå universitet : avhandlings- och skriftserie, ISSN 0283-300X ; 52
Key words: court hearing, social worker, new institutionalism., psychiatrist, legal representative, compulsory care, therapeutic law, therapeutic jurisprudence, normalisation, communication, discourse analysis
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-882 (URN)91-7264-184-3 (ISBN)
Public defence
2006-10-27, Hörsal C, Samhällsvetarhuset, Umeå universitet, Umeå, 13:15
Available from: 2006-10-05 Created: 2006-10-05Bibliographically approved

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