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“Restorative justice: A question of legitimacy.”

Trepanier, Jean
June 4, 2015

Source: (1998) In Restorative justice for juveniles: Potentialities, risks and problems for research, ed. Lode Walgrave, 55-73. A selection of papers presented at the International Conference, Leuven, May 12-14, 1997. With a preface by Lode Walgrave. Leuven, Belgium: Leuven University Press.

Trepanier examines the question of legitimacy with respect to juvenile justice. Legitimacy refers to the question of whether the measure imposed on a juvenile offender is fair and reasonable. The question of legitimacy pertains both to the process of determining the measure to be imposed and the measure itself. Legitimacy is distinct from the question of legality. Legality refers to whether the process and measure conform to law. Legitimacy includes the question of legality but goes beyond to address the question of whether the process and measure possess a fair and reasonable character. The legitimacy of traditional systems for juvenile justice – pertaining, for example, to issues of due process, and to measures intended to rehabilitate the youthful offender – has been questioned by many over the years. Trepanier argues in this paper that the alternative processes and measures put forth by restorative justice advocates – such as mediation, reparation, and community service – require further reflection and research to determine whether they are fair and reasonable.


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