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Restorative justice and the role of the judge

Petterson, Knut
June 4, 2015

Source: (2002) In Restorative Justice and its Relation to the Criminal Justice System: Papers from the second conference of the European Forum for Victim-Offender Mediation and Restorative Justice, Oostende, Belgium, 10-12 October. Pp. 36-40. Downloaded 23 February 2005.

A district judge from Norway, Knut Petterson uses his own judicial experience to discuss restorative justice and the role of the judge in this presentation. He begins with a review of certain historical facts about the position of victims of crime in the Norwegian system. Then he observes that, at present, victims are fundamentally reduced to being witnesses for the police and prosecution. In this current legal context, Petterson believes the courtroom is not suited for restoring harm caused by crime to relationships or people. Indeed, given the Norwegian legal system, he argues that a judge has few options with respect to restorative justice for victims. A judge may have a few sanctioning options for the offender that might be more restorative than incarceration: for example, community punishment, and possibly mediation. But the system provides a judge little in the way of restorative options for victims. With all of this in mind, Petterson then turns to a summary of proposed legal reforms in Norway that would strengthen the role of victims in the system, but would still not go very far in terms of restorative justice.


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