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Best Practice Guidance for Restorative Justice Practitioners and their Case Supervisors and Line Managers (Scotland)

May 06, 2010

from the Introduction:

The primary aim of restorative justice is to address or repair the harm caused by an incident or offence. The processes used to achieve this objective can intersect with formal systems or institutions in a number of ways. But it is worth remembering that restorative justice processes can arise naturally and (more or less) spontaneously, without the need for third-party intervention. Expressions of remorse, making amends, healing and reconciliation happen all the time: relationships, families, organisations and society would quickly break down if this were not the case.

There are cases, however, where the incident or offence is so serious or complex that it comes to the attention of someone in authority: for example, a parent, teacher, supervisor, manager, police officer, children's reporter, procurator fiscal, sheriff, and so on.

The restorative justice ideal is that, whatever else needs to happen, the authority in question gives consideration to what can be done to address or repair the harm that has been caused.

This ideal leaves it open as to (a) when restorative justice is done, (b) what kind of restorative justice process is used, (c) whether those involved decide to participate, or (d) what needs to happen in addition to restorative justice.

The application of restorative justice is, in this sense, highly flexible. For this reason, this Guidance is designed so that it should, for the most part, apply in almost any context, including families, schools, anti-social behaviour, youth justice, residential schools and secure care, criminal justice, prisons, workplaces, and so on.


The Guidance is prefaced by explaining the 'technical' terms that will be used in the document. These definitions are widely accepted by practitioners and service-providers across Scotland (Use of Terms).

The first section of the Guidance begins by describing how practitioners can demonstrate that they have the general knowledge and skills needed to facilitate a restorative justice process effectively (Section 1. A-B)

It then presents the more specific knowledge and skills needed at each stage of a restorative justice process, including assessment, preparation, facilitating communication (if any), monitoring and follow-up (Section 1. C-D).

The second section sets out what is required to facilitate more serious or complex cases: for example, where someone is particularly vulnerable, at risk of causing further harm, or where the case involved severe violence. (Section 2.).

In the final section, the Guidance describes the knowledge and skills required to case supervise and line manage restorative justice processes effectively. (Section 3.)

Download a PDF of the complete Guidance.

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