Source: (2006) Papers presented at the Fourth Conference of the European Forum for Restorative Justice, “Restorative justice: An agenda for Europe”, Barcelona, Spain, 15-17 June 2006.

It has been estimated that there are about 1000 restorative justice programs in the world, and at least eighty countries have adopted some form of restorative justice program in response to crime problems. As an important initiative for criminal justice reform, restorative justice has predominantly taken place in countries with Western legal systems, particularly those with common law and civil law traditions as a response to the limitations of the conventional Western criminal justice system. The motivation or impetus for restorative justice may be different in Eastern countries. To fully understand the complexity and prospects of the development of restorative justice in different contexts, examination of the influence of tradition and contemporary political and socio-legal forces is necessary. What distinctive principles of their philosophical and legal cultural traditions impact the development of restorative justice in different countries? How do different contemporary political and legal contexts interact with the growth and practice of restorative justice? Are there different patterns or pathways of development for restorative justice in different legal and political contexts? These are some of the theoretical questions to be answered. (excerpt)