Specialized Courts


Specialised courts can be defined as those courts that have limited and frequent exclusive jurisdiction in one specific field of law, judges who serve in this courts are considered as specialist in those fields of the law. Some of the specialised courts include drug courts, domestic violence courts, community courts, youth courts, and mental health courts, teen courts, truancy courts and family and juvenile courts however these courts vary widely from one country to another. [1]

The growth in specialized courts represents an attempt of the system to address the root causes of most difficult social problems. Expertise, money saving, and decreased incidence of recidivism are typically mentioned among the key benefits of specialized courts. At the same time, many scholars have doubted these perceived benefits claiming that specialized courts are more vulnerable to external influences, tend to be biased, and lack a broad outlook. Specialized courts have much potential in reducing some types of crime, but this potential is often limited by lack of credibility and scarcity of resources allocated for their functioning.


Specialized Courts

Benefits of Specialised Courts:

There are benefits associated with the creation of specialist courts and his benefits include, improvement of the decision making process. Specialised courts help in improving the decision making process in that it allows experts to deal with specific cases and therefore the decision made by these experts is accurate and easier. [2]

The other advantage associated with the specialised courts is the reduction of pending cases where there is a reduction in pending cases in the general courts, thee courts therefore allow experts to deal with complex cases other than for them to be dealt with in generalised courts.

Another benefit associated with these courts is that they decrease the number of judge hours required for them to decide complex cases, these courts provide this advantages in that they allow experts to deal with specific cases and therefore reduce judge’s hours to deal with complex cases. [3]

The number of appeals for cases dealt with by the specialised courts is minimal, the specialised courts reduce the possibility of appeals due the fact that they are assigned specialised judges whose ruling is of quality and fair.



Specialized Courts

Some of the specialised courts that exist in India include intellectual property courts, business courts, family and juvenile courts, drug courts, domestic violence courts, teen courts and mental health courts; they can be described as follow:

Intellectual Property Courts:

This court was formed to focus on copyright law in india, this courts deal with patent and copyright cases and they are assigned specialised judges. It deals with intellectual property enforcement. [4]

Business courts:

These courts focus on bussiness related cases such as labour relations disputes, tax cases and bankrupsy cases, They aid in strengthening financial and instutitional framework of bussinesses. [5]


Specialized Courts

Family and Juvenile courts:

This is a type of specialised court, the family and juvenile court is concerned with matters relating to the family, some of these include child abuse and negligence parental rights termination matters relating to delinquency. [6]

Drug courts:

These courts developed as a result of community efforts to address the issue of drug abuse in the society, they main concern is to deal with substance abuse cases. [7]

Mental health courts:


Specialized Courts

These courts focus mainly on the mentally ill and the disabled, they have developed as a result of crises in the mental health care and the increase overcrowding of jails. They are a response to this increased concern about the mentally ill cases in the general courts. [8]

Teen courts:

These types of courts are concerned with youth cases, they offer the youth offenders a second chance to learn from their mistakes, this courts are an alternative to the traditional juvenile courts because they are based on the notion that teens want to do what is write when making decisions. [9]

Truancy courts

This is a court that is aimed at elementary school students and their families, the aims of this court is give hope, improves attendance into schools, enhancing achievement among the students and also aids in reducing delinquent behaviour among the school students. [10]


Specialized Courts

Domestic Violence Courts

These courts are designed to solve the problems of domestic violence, they mainly deal with threats to victims and withdrawal charges cases, these courts are assigned a permanent judge who works with the prosecution and the assigned advocates to the victims. [11]


The importance of specialised courts in india is that they speed up the hearing process and also increase accessibility of cases, this courts are assigned to judges who are specialist and these reduces delay and also improve the quality of decisions made on cases. They also stimulate economic growth through protection of intellectual property through patents and copyright law enforcement. [12]

A teens court is a program for the teens and the underlying philosophy of this courts is that positive peer pressure will help the teens to be less likely to repeat the same the same offence, furthermore the teens will be more receptive to cases handled by their peers than adults because these courts are run by teens for the teens. [13]

These teen courts deal with minor offences such as petty theft, alcohol possession and


Specialized Courts

disorderly conduct; these offences are not brought to the juvenile court but are heard before a jury of their teens. Therefore we can conclude that these courts are made for the simple reason that the teens will respond more to cases handled by their peers than those handled by adults and therefore they reduce the occurrence of crimes through their positive peer pressure that emerges. [14]

Drug courts on the other hand are designed to reduce the occurrence of substance abuse, they are aimed at achieving successful rehabilitation through early and intensive judicial treatment, and this is ensured through mandatory drug testing from time to time and the use of appropriate sanctions against the offenders. [15]

The drug courts also play a major role in protecting children from abuse and negligence from substance abusers; this is ensured through coordinated services, treatment and permanent placement of children’s custody. [16]

The drug courts are aimed at reducing the occurrence of abuse and negligence, equipping parents with the necessary skills to survive and provide for their families in the community and finally to develop stable relationships between the community and the courts.

For the domestic violence court is aimed at monitoring the defendant in terms of compliance to court orders, it ensures that there is physical separation between the victim and the defendants to avoid any type of intimidation from the defendant.

Domestic violence courts however are aimed at reducing the occurrence of domestic violence crimes and prevent the reoccurrence of such crimes by a proprietor of the crime; they involve the monitoring of cooperation by the defendants and also handle cases associated with divorce,


Specialized Courts

custody and protective orders. [17]

Domestic violence is usually not taken seriously by general courts and victims in most cases are unable to come forward to claim justice, therefore this has led to the emergence of the domestic violence courts which encourage people to report such cases and as a result reduce the occurrence of domestic violence.

Mental health courts developed as a result of crisis in the community’s mental health care, this was also influenced by the drug epidemic of 1980 to 1990, increased homelessness, jails overcrowding. These courts are concerned with the problems faced by mental ill people in the already overcrowded jails and also the large numbers of drug abusers in the community. Therefore these courts act as a way to reduce the overcrowding of mentally ill people in jail and also to reduce the number of substance abusers in the community. [18]

Truancy courts on the other hand were designed for the purpose of instilling hope, improving school attendance and enhancing achievement among the elementary school children, the philosophy behind the making of these courts is that there was the increasing number of absenteeism in elementary, middle and high schools, therefore these court worked as a way to improve school attendance. [19]

The family and juvenile courts also emerged due to cases relating to the family and the children, the increased crimes appropriated by children as also increased family cases led to the emergence of these courts; however they play a role in reducing the level of crimes that are related to the family. These courts developed as a result of increased criminal offences among the youth, the juvenile courts are usually developed to cater for criminal offenders who are below the age of 18 years.


Specialized Courts

However the youth courts follow the same procedure and that the defendant is given all the rights as those of the general court although the defendant in this court may be denied trial by a jury. Only in very serious crimes such as homicides are defendants in the juvenile courts allowed to attend adult courts for their hearing of their case.

Youth courts have been criticised for the practice of infancy defence where they assume that children under the age of 14 years are less likely to have criminal intents. However serious crimes by the youths can lead to imprisonment where such cases are heard in general adult courts.

In most countries this courts exist although they may vary in their functions and types in different countries, in most of the developed countries such as the UK and the USA this courts are operational and function according to their roles, but in most developing countries they lack the institutional framework to develop such courts to cater for specific crimes such as drug crimes, domestic violence and juvenile crimes. This may be explained by the cultural background of each country and their view of these crimes.

Most youth courts are developed from the assumption that most offenders are more likely to have been brought up in disadvantaged families or they may not have received penalties for previously committed crimes, for this reason therefore these courts have developed in our present world to cater for such needs.


Specialized Courts


The specialised courts do play a major role in the community we live in, they have several advantages associated with them and this include the improvement of the courts decision making process, reducing pending cases, encourage economic growth through protection of intellectual property and reducing the number of judge hours required to resolve complex cases.

The philosophy behind making the specialist courts in India is almost similar in all the case of their making, mostly they are made as a way to increase the efficiency of the judicial system, reduce the reoccurrence of crime and also to ensure decisions on specific cases are dealt with by experts.

However other scholars argue that this courts are a way of escaping proper judgement from the formal judicial systems, but generally this courts have played a major role in improving the society we live in today through the reduced cases of specific crimes dealt with by this courts.


The American Bar Association Central and East European Law (CEELI) (1996) Concept Paper on Specialized Courts, retrieved on 12th February, available at www.ceeli.org

Missouri Courts (2006) Specialized Courts Divisions, retrieved on 12th February, available at w


Specialized Courts


National Association of Drug Court Professionals (2007), retrieved on 12th February available at www.nadcp.org

Freeman Wilson, Karen, Boone and Donna L (2004) Painting the Current Picture: A National Report Card on Drug Courts and Other Problem Solving Court Programs in the United States, I: 1. May 2004

U.S. Dept of Justice (2007) Office of Justice Programs, retrieved on 12th February, available

at www.ojp.usdoj.go v

The Hindu Business Line (2004)Specialised business courts mooted,the hindu group of publications,retrieved on 20th february, available at www.

David Carney (2002) IIPI Conference Addresses Creation of Specialized Courts for Copyright Cases, Tech Law Journal, retrieved on 21st February, available at www.

India’s National Magazine (2006), Big business at work, from the publishers of The Hindu, Volume 23 – Issue 06: Mar. 25 – Apr. 07, 2006

[1] CEELI (1996)

[2] CEELI (1996)

[3] CEELI (1996)

[4] India’s National Magazine(2006)


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[5] The Hindu Business Line (2004)

[6] Missouri Courts (2006)

[7] Missouri Courts (2006)

[8] Missouri Courts (2006)

[9] Missouri Courts (2006)

[10] Missouri Courts (2006)

[11] U.S. Dept of Justice (2007)

[12] The Hindu Business Line (2004)

[13] U.S. Dept of Justice (2007)

[14] U.S. Dept of Justice (2007)

[15] U.S. Dept of Justice (2007)


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[16] U.S. Dept of Justice (2007)

[17] Missouri Courts (2006)

[18] Missouri Courts (2006)

[19] Missouri Courts (2006)