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Establishing and sustaining a restorative justice programme.

Hastie, Keith
June 4, 2015

Source: (2004) Papers presented at the Third Conference of the European Forum for Victim-Offender Mediation and Restorative Justice, ‘Restorative Justice in Europe: Where are we heading?’, Budapest, Hungary, 14-16 October. Downloaded 22 September 2005.

When considering the establishment of a Restorative Justice Service, we first need to ask ourselves – are the
principles that underpin restorative justice compatible with the current political climate? In Scotland, for
example, the values of the Lord Advocate (a political appointee) and subsequent guidance in the book of
regulations may not be favourable to a restorative justice approach.
Should the government appoint a Lord Advocate who favours restorative justice, individual Procurators Fiscal
may interpret the book of regulations according to their own values. In the first instance, Procurators Fiscal
determine whether or not prosecution is in the public interest. In some programmes based on a ‘deferred
prosecution’ model of restorative justice, the Procurator Fiscal is the master of the instance until all agreements
are fulfilled.
That is, the outcome to a victim/offender mediation may not be acceptable to the Fiscal, who may proceed to
prosecution. Indeed the Fiscal in one area, in what could be considered to be an attempt to address possible
power imbalances, has decreed that “unreasonable demands in negotiation or unreasonable withdrawal from
the service will lead to a review of the need to prosecute�?.
Secondly, government appointed prosecutors are aware of the politically damaging effects of a lack of public
confidence in the justice system. (excerpt)


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