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The Trend Towards Specialisation: West Yorkshire Innovations in Drugs and Domestic Violence Courts

By Charlotte Walsh


This article discusses the recent birth of what the author perceives to be a move towards increased specialisation in our magistrates'courts. The developments which suggest the beginnings of such a trend have all taken place in West Yorkshire where two specialist drug courts and a specialist domestic violence court are now in operation. These courts are effectively piloting an innovative approach which, should it prove successful, would seem likely to be developed on a nationwide scale. The specialist courts which have been established in this country to date are looked at in some detail, alongside a consideration of the substance, foundation and desirability of specialisation. However, due to the fact that specialist courts in this country are at such a formative stage, it is rather early to comment meaningfully on their effectiveness; therefore, these courts are evaluated predominantly through discussion of their forerunners in the United States. The aims and motivations behind specialisation are considered along with a discussion of the advantages to be gained from such an approach. These advantages are considered both in practical terms and in abstract. In conclusion, an analysis of the areas where specialisation is likely to take place in this country in the future is offered, along with a consideration of the wider context of this new development

Year: 2001
DOI identifier: 10.1111/1468-2311.00187
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