Source: (2000) In Victim-offender mediation in Europe: Making restorative justice work, ed. The European Forum for Victim-Offender Mediation and Restorative Justice, 49-67. With an introduction by Tony Peters. Leuven, Belgium: Leuven University Press.

Mackay addresses the need to develop and apply ethical principles that will guide and measure mediation practices with benefits for victims and offenders to the extent possible. In Mackay’s view, ethics should undergird and shape institutions and practices (in all spheres of life). Therefore, he discusses the need for advocates of restorative justice to root restorative justice in ethical values and principles. In doing this, the ethical values and principles of restorative justice can shape and maintain restorative practices. He notes there are a number of ethical systems proposed for life in general, and an exposition of values and principles of restorative justice must account for these various systems. Also, Mackay points to the debate as to whether law is based on ethical values and principles or on something else (such as majority opinion, legislative or governmental decree, or customary behavior). He observes that restorative justice assumes an ethical basis for law (i.e., not that any particular law or system of law is ethical, but that law or a system of law should be based on ethical values and principles). With all of this in mind, Mackay describes a basic model of restorative justice. Yet he maintains that much work needs to be done to detail how the principles of the basic model work out with respect to fundamental issues such as the comprehensive paradigm of criminal justice; punishment; needs, rights, and responsibilities of the parties involved; and mediation and other restorative practices. He also contends that much work needs to be done to specify how restorative values and principles work out in differing contexts (e.g., different countries and systems) and with competing interests.