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Court House

Welcome: Judges, prosecutors, defense lawyers, probation officers, victims, witnesses, defendants and others interested in the use of restorative justice during court proceedings.

Court HouseRestorative justice is increasingly visible in courtrooms around the world. Prosecutors, judges and defense attorneys make use of it. Probation officers are often involved in its implementation or monitoring. What are the interests and needs of prosecutors, defense attorneys, judges and probation officers?

Human rights questions about restorative justice become most apparent at this stage of the process. The rules about fairness in court are quite clear, many of them emphasizing the need for transparency.

Restorative meetings, on the other hand, usually take place in private settings. How can judges and lawyers reassure themselves that the parties' legal interests are honoured?

The links immediately below address issues that frequently arise concerning restorative justice and the courts.

There are a number of articles and other resources organized by topic at the bottom of the page that will also be of interest.

Check out these links . . . .

. . . . for a judge's perspective on supporting restorative justice . . . .

. . . . for a prosecutor's reasons for using restorative justice . . . .

. . . . for a defense attorney's reasons for supporting restorative processes . . . .

For more in-depth information, take a look at the topics below for many articles and other resources. Also, check out some of the other tabs on the RJ Online home page. Learn how restorative justice is used by police, for example, and what the media has reported about the topic.

If you are unable to find what you are looking for, please contact us and we will do our best to help. Contact us by email at courthouse@restorativejustice.org.

Due Process Issues
Criminal defendants -- and victims -- have fundamental human rights that must be respected in any state-sanctioned proceeding. A variety of legal protections have been established over the centuries, but for the most part these anticipate a formal legal process. How can the benefits of informal processes be gained without jeopardizing the human rights of the parties? How can those rights be observed without formalizing the informal restorative processes?
Community Justice
An initiative to build ties between communities and the criminal justice system in order to prevent crime, repair harm and build communities.
Legal Status of Indigenous Courts
Articles about diversion of certain matters to indigenous courts or acceptance by the criminal justice system of decisions made there.
Judges
Articles about judges' use of and attitudes toward restorative justice programmes. Also includes some manuals for court-referred restorative justice programmes.
Prosecutors
Articles about the use of restorative justice programmes by prosecutors and about community prosecution.
Defense Lawyers
Articles concerning the role and experiences of defense lawyers in restorative programmes.
Probation Officers
Articles and other resources on the role, effectiveness and responsibilities of probation officers in restorative justice programmes.
Victims
Victims have interests in assistance, compensation, and victim impact statements.
Restorative Justice and Sentencing
Restorative programmes are sometimes used after a determination or plea of guilt but before sentencing. The resulting agreements are then used by the judge in determining the sentence. The result is typically a reparative sentence, with or without diversion from detention or prison facilities. These articles describe programmes, issues and research.
Restorative Justice for Diversion
Restorative programmes are sometimes used to divert offenders from being charged (a decision made by the police or prosecutor) or tried (a decision made by the prosecutor or judge). These articles describe ways in which this is done, and discuss issues, benefits and limitations of diversion.
Kinds of Crimes
At first, restorative programmes were used for juveniles with short records and relatively minor crimes. Over time, however, the programmes have been adjusted to work with adults as well, and with more serious nonviolent crimes and even violent crimes. The legal effect of agreements tends to vary based on the crime; for less serious crimes the judge may adopt the agreement as the sentence, while in homicide cases, for example, there is little if any impact on the defendant's sentence. In those instances restorative encounters are used to help the victim's (and the offender's) healing.
Statutes and Case Law
Statutes and important court cases concerning restorative justice from around the world.

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