Back to RJ Archive

Aboriginal Legal Theory and Restorative Justice

Guest, James J.R
June 4, 2015

Source: (1999) Justice as Healing 4 (1).

In this first of two articles, the author contends that Aboriginal peoples are attempting to displace the legal system from their communities and replace it with culturally relevant systems of justice. Aboriginal perspectives on what constitutes justice are as varied and distinctive as the various Aboriginal nations throughout the world. There is, however, more overlap than differences as to a sense of what the basis for truth and justice is. The definition of justice is not the sole domain of any single nation, Aboriginal or non-Aboriginal.
In Canada today there are three justice system models in operation: (1) the main criminal justice system that uses raw coercive force as its power base; (2) a criminal justice system that is attempting to augment itself with restorative justice processes and remake its image after years of locking up Aboriginal peoples; and (3) Aboriginal justice systems within communities that use respect and teaching as the basis of knowledge for living together.. This article concentrates on the use of restorative justice principles within the criminal justice system and the differences in legal theory that make the implementation of these processes difficult.


AbstractCourtsIndigenous JusticePolicePrisonsRJ and the WorkplaceRJ in SchoolsRJ TheoryStatutes and LegislationTeachers and Students
Support the cause

We've Been Restoring Justice for More Than 40 Years

Your donation helps Prison Fellowship International repair the harm caused by crime by emphasizing accountability, forgiveness, and making amends for prisoners and those affected by their actions. When victims, offenders, and community members meet to decide how to do that, the results are transformational.

Donate Now