Source: (2009) Virginia Journal of Social Policy and the Law. 16(2):358-384.

At the same time, legal scholars have been exploring the application of forgiveness in various domains (e.g, bankruptcy law,6 criminal law7), and an entire issue of the Fordham Urban Law Journal has been devoted to forgiveness in criminal, civil and international law.8 To the legal outsider, the issue of forgiveness seems most obvious and relevant to the restorative justice movement that has arisen around the world.9 As conceptualized by one of the founders of this movement, Howard Zehr,10 restorative justice entails solutions that promote, repair, and reconcile victims and offenders with each other and their communities. Perhaps not surprisingly, restorative justice is attributed with the ―ability to achieve emotional repair for the victim through processes that reduce vengefulness or increase empathy.‖11 As will soon be apparent, reduced vengefulness is a defining feature of forgiveness in many scientific studies and increased empathy is facilitative of forgiveness. (excerpt)