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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 72269 Find in a Library
Title: Judge, His Mission, and His Action (From Fonction sociale du tribunal de la jeunesse, p 61-66, 1979 - See NCJ-72264)
Author(s): G Blondeel
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 6
Format: Document
Language: French
Country: Belgium
Annotation: As a consequence of the 1965 Belgian juvenile law reform, the role and functions of juvenile court judges have been transformed and have acquired new dimensions which extend into the social, psychological, and educational spheres.
Abstract: Belgian juvenile court judges are now expected to perform arbitration and conciliation functions instead of applying penal sanctions. All punitive and repressive aspects have been removed from the reformed juvenile codes. This all-encompassing change in legal philosophy and judicial practice requires new kinds of knowledge and skills in juvenile justice practitioners. The only difference between a lay arbitratorconciliator and a judge playing this dual role consists in the judge's power to impose his solutions. Authoritarian decisions and attitudes, however, are ruled out by the spirit of the new juvenile codes. A judge must use, above all, his powers of persuasion, because his judicial discretion is theoretically wide, but the means of enforcement are, in reality, very limited. A juvenile judge must gain the confidence of his clients and their families, and he must know how to listen to all parties concerned in order to be heeded in return. Ideally, the new breed of juvenile court judge should be versed in juvenile psychology, both normal and deviant. His knowledge of the law should be used to safeguard the rights of his clients. He should be patient, yet firm, in order to compensate for possible weakness in his clients' parents. He should be intelligent enough to distinguish between the deeper realities and epiphenomena. Since there are many young law graduates who aspire to becoming juvenile court judges, they should be encouraged by eliminating some formal requirements and improving professional rewards. Footnotes include 9 bibliographic references.
Index Term(s): Belgium; Judges; Juvenile codes; Juvenile courts; Law reform; Social work
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