Source: (2003) In, Lode Walgrave, ed., Repositioning Restorative Justice. Devon: Willan Publishing. Pp. 121-135.

As the popularity of restorative justice has increased, the debate has grown in restorative justice circles regarding the degree to which it can replace mainstream forms of justice. The increase in restorative justice practices has largely occurred in informal interventions such as victim-offender mediation, family group conferences, and healing circles; at this point, they are still the primary means for pursuing restorative ideas and objectives in situations of conflict and wrongdoing. Yet, comments Nathan Harris, there is limited empirical research into the dynamics of restorative interventions to explain how and why they are successful. Against this background, Harris in this paper identifies four aims central to family group conferences. These procedural aims point to characteristics necessary for a successful conference. Hence, he uses them to propose a model for evaluating conferences.