Source: (2008) Report of the fifth conference of the European Forum for Restorative Justice, Building restorative justice in Europe: cooperation between the public, policy makers, practitioners and researchers, Verona.

The most explicitly restorative of youth justice reforms in England and Wales is the referral order, introduced into legislation by the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999 and rolled out nationally in April 2002. Drawing on data gathered from observations and semistructured interviews with youth justice professionals, voluntary community panel members and young people who were undertaking a referral order, my research explored the strengths and weaknesses of the way the referral order was being implemented. The main question was to examine how far the referral order fits the theoretical framework underpinning the concept of restorative justice. A key aim of the research was to learn from and inform policy and practice. (excerpt)