Source: (1998) Contemporary Justice Review. 1: 47-55. Reprinted in Restorative Justice. Declan Roche (2003), ed. Pp. 73-81. The International Library of Essays in Law & Legal Theory, Second Series. Aldershot, Hants, England: Dartmouth/Ashgate.

As restorative justice programs continue to be widely adopted, the number of definitions of restorative justice has increased significantly. Oddly enough, some of the programs defined as restorative do not appear to contain some of the essential elements originally associated with restorative justice. In an effort to clarify what constitutes restorative justice, this article provides a fundamental definition of restorative justice. While the definition seeks to be as inclusive as possible, it also provides some basic principles against which programs might be measured to determine their restorative nature and potential.