Problem-solving courts

Aikaterini Mentzou, Natasha Mutebi

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Problem-solving courts (PSC) are a problem-solving approach targeting the complex needs of individuals within the criminal or family justice systems. Over the last 20 years, PSC have been introduced into the UK to address the personal, social and structural factors underlying behavioural issues that often contribute to re-offending. In June 2023, the Ministry of Justice launched three courts with problem-solving approaches referred to as Intensive Supervision Courts (ISC). The Ministry of Justice has commissioned the evaluations of these courts.

Focusing on rehabilitative outcomes, PSC combine intervention programmes with judicial oversight through regular reviews. By placing judges and magistrates at the centre of rehabilitation, PSC target individuals or families with complex needs, who might not benefit from standard court proceedings and supervision, with an aim to improve long-term life outcomes.

This POSTnote provides an overview of PSC in England and Wales. It outlines different PSC and courts with PSC elements that operate within adult criminal courts, family courts and youth courts across England and Wales, drawing data from case studies in the UK and, where relevant, internationally. It also discusses potential challenges to fully implement PSC and their approaches as well as opportunities for more effective implementation of PSC across England and Wales.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherThe Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jul 2023


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