Source: (2002) In, Lode Walgrave, ed., Restorative Justice and the Law. Devon, UK: Willan Publishing. Pp. 1-18.

Restorative justice ideas and practices have proliferated enormously in recent years. In view of this, restorative justice is notoriously difficult to define. In general, though, restorative justice perspectives appear to share a basic notion of justice as restoring harms and hurt, thus reflecting a commitment to certain normative values, such as individual empowerment, responsibility, peace, community, compassion, and respect. Pavlich raises the question whether this assumption of a normative justice – usually supported by recourse to universal and fundamental moral principles deriving from religion, philosophy, political and social theory, and the like – is tenable in a contemporary context pervaded by deep philosophical uncertainty about morality. With all of this in mind, he explores the possibility of a different language through which the ethics of restorative justice may be articulated in an ethos of uncertainty.