LAW THERAPY and CONSTRUCTIVE LAW – a beginner’s guide
Prayer of St Francis
Many people experience problems in their life in the form of suffering, anxiety, stress, depression, trauma, fear, paranoia, withdrawal, repressed anger etc etc. As time goes by these reactive conditions can deteriorate, become more entrenched and affect the immune system leading to health problems and worsening conditions.
In many instances these states arise as a result of some incursion, impact, trespass, fraud or violation upon one's life by another party, either at one time or ongoing. This other party, (the oppressor or suppressor), unless you are/were at fault, is either at fault or acting tortiously.
The usual solutions to these reactive states are medication or counseling, neither of which can achieve a conclusive remedy when you are or have been the victim of a fraud, trespass, violation etc upon your life by another person seeking to gain an advantage or control or benefit at your expense.
From the world of law comes a new avenue for redress and dispelling these reactive mental states which is the opportunity, as a litigant in person, or pro se, to conduct an action yourself to seek what the courts term a "remedy", also known as damages, compensation, injunctions, orders etc which have been available court solutions for centuries.
essence of law therapy is for you yourself to set matters in your
life aright by you becoming empowered and initiative and conducting
an action yourself, first in the correspondence stages and perhaps
into the litigation stages. The process is very therapeutic.
In many cases the latter stages may never arise as the first steps in Law Therapy begin with the collection of evidence and the writing of a letter, a letter which may never be sent. Sometimes the writing of the letter or the rewriting numerous times to get it into final form suffices. The next step is to forward it and let an interchange of formal correspondence begin. This may achieve resolution, admissions, denials, concessions, offers etc and lead to both parties taking up their final positions.
When you come to the point where you feel confident, are good and ready, everything is in place, know the law and precedents and you have nothing to lose but your chains etc you are ready to launch in the court, should that still be appropriate. You may be successful or you may fail but you will most likely reach a resolution in your case which may be damages or an appropriate order.
But the major benefit of law therapy is the process of your doing it and damages for many achieves the peace they seek which counseling or medication cannot achieve. Winning is the best therapy.
Generally an action has to be commenced within 6 years of the cause of action (check your jurisdiction) unless a compelling argument can be raised as to why the statute of limitations should not apply. For personal damages it is generally 3 years. For situations and causes going back over 6 years new reasons for delay would have to be given to the court before being able to launch.
THE TORT TO CONTRACT SWAP
A person who has been the subject of an abuse or a theft or any other tort may be able to execute a tort for contract swap. By performing a tort for contract swap one goes from being a victim of tort to becoming a beneficiary under contract. The key to becoming a beneficiary under contract and naming your own price for settlement of the contract is consent. A person who is a victim of tort is generally entitled to damages assessed by the court but as a beneficiary under contract you can name your own price or consideration (within reason) for the settlement of the agreement and in becoming a beneficiary under contract there is healing and closure upon either issuing an invoice or settlement of the amount due under the contract.
For example in one of my cases I rented a garage off a woman who headed a family business of garage piracy. They would put an ad in the paper to attract a stranger to rent their garage and store his possessions therein. In my case the garage pirates stole my possessions leaving me with little left when the rent had been paid in advance. They said their solicitor had advised that it was legally permissible for them to acquire their tenant's goods when they had received rent payments in advance on what was an ongoing lease. During the proceedings they were found to be guilty of the tort of conversion, or stealing, acquisition without consent and the damages came to a small amount. Prior to the close of proceedings I went from being a victim of the tort of conversion to being a beneficiary under contract by selling my possessions, which were never going to be returned, to the thieves. I did this by consenting to their acquisition, passing title to the items and advising of prices being charged pursuant to the sale of my goods. Hence I could now name my prices, within reason, for the goods and no longer obtain damages as there was now no tort.
Similarly a person who has been the subject of abuse, rape or bullying could issue an invoice for entertainment services acquired by the abuser and invoice accordingly or advise that future acquisitions of entertainment services procured by the tort-feasor, or abuser, will attract a fee of say $1,000 per time by raising their forefinger in confirmation of the consenting being given to the tort rendering it a deal for a given price if proceeded with and so advising. By consenting to the tort, or crime against the person, and invoicing accordingly for entertainment services procured etc one can become a beneficiary under contract and get paid (and put a stop to the abuse or get the return of your goods) but the key to making the transition from being victim to beneficiary is consent and this is called a tort for contract swap and it can be done with most of the abuses and crimes upon the person.
Knowing that you can charge a fee or consideration and no longer be a victim is tremendously relaxing and empowering and the courts will enforce your remedy, but you will probably have to explain everything in writing, giving a copy of the invoice in your claim if the payment is not forthcoming from the other party.
In my other major case I was the victim of what was referred to as a debt for equity swap where the party who is indebted seeks to swap their indebtedness for the equity of the person to whom they owe the money, an absurd idea but it happens. Such swaps are unlawful as only the creditor or promisee or victim can consent to the swap
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WRITING YOUR LETTER TO YOUR OPPONENT.
first step of law therapy and healing is to deal with the person or
organization who has committed a tort against you or defrauded you or
failed to pay a debt. This is done by the writing of a letter which
may be called, in the case of tort, a letter of grievance or, in the
case of contract, a letter of demand. The letter of demand could be
that your opponent pays money owing under an agreement or contract or
completes what they have undertaken to do under an agreement.
The letter should be an outline of what has happened and an invitation for your opponent to rebut what you have said or, in the case of a debt arising from contract, to pay the money owing.
The letter should outline certain background and legal "causes of action" and claims which are actionable at law and can lead to redress. The letter, if based upon tort, may involve a tort to contract swap in which you consent to past infractions and now advise of a price or fee which you are charging pursuant to consent, or acceptance, of their act of acquisition of a benefit, such as entertainment. If a debt has arisen include an invoice or you may advise that future infractions will be consented to upon terms and those terms are the charging of a fee per event for their act of securing, for example, entertainment at your expense and provision, such as in bullying or sexual harassment.
preliminary step before filing any action may be what is termed a
Notice to Admit Facts, accompanied by a Notice to Admit Authenticity
of Documents, in which requests to admit certain or all facts are put
requiring admission (yes) or disputation (no) answers. If you cover
all bases well enough in your request to admit and there are no
reasonable grounds given or left for dispute there may well be no
issues left which presumably should work to your favour as the
requesting party and may finish the issue of liability at the start.
The letter should involve a number of questions to which you know the answers giving them an opportunity to respond. These questions, known as self-executing interrogatories, will in time be referred to in later proceedings should they arise. Generally these require an Order of the Court. Give a deadline for them to answer the questions, say 28 days, and advise that should they fail to answer the questions adequately within 28 days then the issues raised will, by due process, be deemed admitted and resolved in your favour. You may also advise that after 28 days you will supply them a copy again of the questions with the answers for them to supply alternate answers and if they fail to do so within 14 days then your answers will become the undisputed answers to the questions and they will be deemed to have admitted your claim and these questions with your answers will be produced to the court in a forthcoming action.
This procedure of determining answers to questions and resolving issues in your favour in advance is done to save the court time at hearing as the matter comes to court basically all resolved, which is less traumatic and quite relaxing and therapeutic.
Once questions and answers are resolved in your favour and you have perhaps invoiced them and they have not paid you can go to court to claim off them using your letters to annex to your claim.
I know of no legal practitioners who specialize in law therapy as law therapy is an initiative that comes from the world of "pro se" litigation or the litigant in person conducting their case, win or lose. There are however a number of legally qualified people who have moved into the area of counselling and some of these may be interested in law therapy.
Law Therapy may appeal to legally qualified personnel who seek a more humanistic and client centered approach whereby the healing of the individual by the pursuit of due process and resolution of legal issues giving rise to his/her client's condition may be achieved by the remedies which the courts have traditionally made available.
Law Therapy may also appeal to the general therapist who is seeking another modality to resolve issues and symptoms with which their patients present by the identification of a tortious precipitating party or incident and the application of due process and legal principles.
In time when there are some law therapists you will be able to consult a law therapist who may challenge your position and thinking, test your arguments and look for weaknesses, give you moral support, constructive suggestions and direction, discuss strategy, give pointers on process but leave you in the driver's seat. At the moment solicitors are trained to take your action out of your hands, run it the way they see fit and leave you powerless.
If you would like to pursue an issue in your life and feel law therapy may be for you and would like to know of appropriate associations and support groups contact David on (612) 8214 8397 or 0419 605 365 (in Sydney).
If you're in a relationship or considering one then check out one of my other free sites at the Relationship Agreement site before your relationship becomes more a matter of assets than a matter of the heart.
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Guidelines for Progressive Sentencing
is envisaged that in time we will have a Law Therapists Association
in Sydney who will be seeking the appropriate funding from the
appropriate channels (possibly funding submissions may be put into a
variety of funding and compensating bodies). These therapists will
have a background in law but employ the approach of a facilitator or
counselor or devil's advocate while you run your action, stay in the
driver's seat and they challenge your thinking and strategy.
There are some cases which can only ever be run by litigants in person.
Legal practitioners interested in this new discipline should contact the writer re the formation of the Australian Law Therapists' Association (ALTA).
Link to Self Litigants Network, Courses for Litigants in Person in Sydney.
Link to Plaintiff Litigants' Association , an association with consultative panel which meets to assist plaintiff litigant members, with case preparation and assistance in Sydney. More a group for the determined and reasonably competent person who chooses to forego the expenses of a solicitor. "Not for the bears, the bores or the babes".
Link to Website of the International Network on Therapeutic Jurisprudence.
Theraputic Jurisprudence on Wikipedia
The concept of Law Therapy comes from the world of the Litigant in Person. It is not an initiative that could ever come from the world of lawyers. With changes in access to law giving litigants the power and confidence and support to run their own actions in the courts new developments and initiatives are taking place and now some of those initiatives are coming from a strange place - from the world of the litigant in person of all places. And they have something to say and new models to offer and new roles for legal professionals.
I myself am a litigant in person (plaintiff), with a set of actions which span many years, have had an opportunity to smell the roses, so to speak, to become familiar with a number of issues of interest to litigants in person within the world of law. From the world of litigants in person comes the notion of law therapy, a revolutionary concept, where as the victim unravels what has been done to them they achieve healing by due process and achieve the remedies which the courts have had to offer for centuries called damages or orders. But of course courts are not populated by doctors, they are populated by lawyers.
Law therapy allows the litigant to achieve a peace of mind that medication cannot and which counseling cannot. It is therapeutic and it is cathartic and it is natural and it is a mental healing process which comes only from the courts. It is an appropriate therapy for probably 10% - 20% of the population. At our SLA meetings at panel I saw people on disability support pensions whose problems virtually evaporated as they got on top of legal issues which had been their bane, and their problem for years. Some have gone on to win their cases and sort out their lives through Law Therapy. The process of law therapy can save the state millions in pensions as people whose problems have a tortious or fraudulent basis sort out their issues. Even if they cannot conclude them it is the "process which is the massage".
Law Therapy gives rise to whole new areas of funding and, properly advanced, turns on new tap for legal funding for lawyers and support services.
The place in law therapy for the trained legal professional is more as a counselor, supporter, devil's advocate or panel consultant. The litigant stays in the driver's seat rather than the back seat.
I have read some of the material on your site re Therapeutic Jurisprudence and find it markedly different to the notion of Law Therapy. Law Therapy is the process sought for the litigant in person which is appropriate for a person who has been the subject of a fraud, tort, violation etc. It is tinged with determination and anger and is seeking a remedy but it is the process which is therapeutic, moreso than the outcome and it is this process which the litigant is denied when using a lawyer to run their case. It is not academic but it is not for everyone. It is for the person living with what has happened to them day by day and it is the only way forward for many people to bring their dramas to their ultimate conclusions in the form of final judgment.
The market of the future is for legal courses for the litigant in person, private or corporate. This will be met by some resistance by lawyers as they are, but when they see that they will not threaten them they will accept it. In fact the more plaintiffs who start cases the more work they will get.
For further information ring (612) 8214 8397 or 0419 605 365 (Sydney) or email to David at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A recent email:
dear david....your email to rod
macdonald was forwarded to nathalie desrosiers, a law faculty member
in canada and now president of law reform commission of canada. she,
in turn, forwarded it to me, knowing that i would be interested in
it, which i am.
i am a law professor at both the u of arizona and the u of puerto rico--one semester at each. since 1987, i have been working on something called 'therapeutic jurisprudence'. it is a perspective that looks at the law itself as a potential therapeutic agent. often, we look at how the legal process contributes to trauma and stress, but we also look to how it can achieve therapeutic outcomes. in fact, nathalie desrosiers (from u of western ontario) and bruce feldthusen(now dean of law at u of ottawa) have written very interesting articles about how sexual assault victims feel about different legal alternatives(criminal cases, civil tort actions, applications for compensation from criminal injuries compensation boards), and have suggested that lawyers become attuned to such issues and better advise clients about the therapeutic and antitherapeutic aspects of pursuing certain routes. bruce feldthusen has an article in the ottawa law review specifically dealing with sexual assault victims who bring civil suits against their perpetrators for specifically therapeutic reasons.
there is an entire bibliography on therapeutic jurisprudence, and other info and announcements(including an announcement of the 2nd international conference on therapeutic jurisprudence, may 3-5,2001 in cincinnati, ohio) on the webpage of the international network on therapeutic jurisprudence.
your notion of law therapy is therefore of real interest to me. it certainly fits within an overall notion of the law as a potential therapeutic agent, and i'd like to learn more about it. by the way, you might be interested in some changes in legal education that propose that lawyers develop an increasing sensitivity to therapeutic concerns. carolina academic press just published a book i co-edited on this:
dennis p. stolle, david b. wexler, & bruce j. winick, Practising Therapeutic Jurisprudence: Law as a Helping Profession(carolina academic press 2000). a description and table of contents can be seen by looking under author name at the press website, www.caplaw.com this of course isn't exactly what you and your organization are interested in or up to, but i do think it may be a step in the same overall direction.....David
David B. Wexler email: email@example.com website of International Network on Therapeutic Jurisprudence.