Source: (1992) In: H. Messmer and H.-U. Otto (eds.), Restorative Justice on Trial: Pitfalls and Potentials of Victim-Offender Mediation: International Research Perspectives. Dordrecht, NETH: Kluwer Academic Publishers, pp. 317-326.This article analyzes the prospects and limits of the mediation approach as an alternative to the principle of retribution. Mediation or victim-offender reconciliation between disputing parties does not offer sufficient symbols of morality. Criminal justice is oriented toward basic social norms or values, and mediation focuses on individuals. Therefore the two paradigms have different objectives. The most important innovative aspect of mediation is to be seen in its discursive paradigm. The concept of "reflexive law" is suggested as a model of cooperation with the criminal justice system.