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Making sense of RJ – Messages from the COST Action Working Group on RJ theory.

Mackay, Robert
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.

The expansion of RJ in Europe has posed many questions about what this model means, how it relates to the
criminal justice systems of Europe and to other parts of our legal and social worlds. We need to address what
part theories play in providing justifications, rationales, principles, explanations and analyses of restorative
The COST Action Working Group on Restorative Justice Theory has been meeting since 2003. The purpose of
the group is to clarify the theoretical ground of RJ with the aim of stimulating further developments in the field.
This panel will provide a sample of the group’s developmental work. The speakers will give accounts of some
of the controversial issues which they have been propounding as a ground-clearing for more systematic
theoretical treatment.
The types of topic that will be addressed include: the scope of RJ; controversies between RJ and criminal law;
the ethics of punishment; justifications of RJ; and, the theorisation of psychological, moral and legal themes (eg
guilt, responsibility, shame, forgiveness and remorse). (excerpt)


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