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Event Series Event Series: Neuroscience and the Law

Opportunity to Participate in a Four-Part Neuroscience and the Law Program

Thursday, May 4, 2023 - Friday, May 5, 2023

We are excited to announce that Flaschner and The Center for Law, Brain and Behavior at the Massachusetts General Hospital (CLBB) have been awarded a grant by the Dana Foundation for a four-part judicial education program focused on the role of neuroscience in the law. Neuroscience is the study of how the nervous system develops, its structure, and what it does. Neuroscientists focus on the brain and its impact on behavior and cognitive functions. Neuroscience is not only concerned with the normal functioning of the nervous system, but also what happens to the nervous system when people have neurological, psychiatric and neurodevelopmental disorders. Neuroscience is an interdisciplinary science which is closely aligned with other disciplines, such as mathematics, linguistics, engineering, computer science, chemistry, philosophy, psychology, and medicine.

Goals of the Program
The goals of the program are (a) to supply judges with foundational knowledge of neuroscientific principles that arise or may arise in legal proceedings before the Massachusetts Trial Court, (b) to better enable judges to perform their evidentiary gatekeeping responsibilities with respect to neuroscientific experts and related evidence of neuroscientific test results , and (c) to help judges understand the obstacles to accurate and bias-free decision-making.

Program Sessions
The 2023 program will consist of four sessions: (1) an opening dinner and evening program with an overnight stay followed by a full day of programming (May 4-5, 2023); (2) two subsequent ½ day ZOOM sessions over the summer and fall; and (3) a final full-day, in-person program in the fall. Judges will receive material to read prior to each session. The faculty will consist of experts from the MGH CLBB who teach this subject to federal judges through the Federal Judicial Center.

Initial eligibility for this program is limited to trial court judges with at least five years of service and at least seven years of potential service remaining before they reach the age of mandatory retirement. Judges within a few months of this range on either end may apply as well. To be selected for this program, eligible judges must agree to attend the four sessions and complete the work assignments, subject of course to obtaining approval for such educational leave from the judge’s chief.

If you meet the eligibility criteria and are interested in participating, you are requested to send an email to programs@flaschner.org indicating your interest (subject to the approval of your chief) and a brief statement of why you think this program will assist you in carrying out your judicial duties. The application deadline is March 31, 2023. 

Selection Process
Flaschner is able to support up to 25 judges for the first year of this program. In the event that more than 25 judges apply, the slots will be allocated to ensure a fair representation from each department. Eligible trial court judges who apply for this program but who are not selected will be given priority if a second year of this program is funded.


Thursday, May 4, 2023
Friday, May 5, 2023
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