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Selecting cases for mediation (abstract).

Bullens, Frederik
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.

In his presentation, Frederik Bullens studies the selection of mediation files. Reminding the main question of
the conference (‘Is the increased implementation of restorative justice programmes fashionable or does it really
change the penal system?’), the author starts with the Belgian (more exactly: Flemish) practice of mediation for
redress. In 1993 the mediation for redress started in Leuven as an action-research. Since 1996 it is embedded in
a mediation service and, on demand of the minister of justice, implemented in the judicial districts. At the
moment there are mediation for redress programmes in 9 of the 14 Flemish judicial districts. This very fast
process of implementation brings some restorative justice thinkers to a high level of enthusiasm. They often
picture Belgium as an example, an example that proves that it is possible to change the penal justice system into
a restorative justice system. But is this really the case? The author looks at the selected files and asks three
simple, but nonetheless very important questions. How many judicial files are put into the mediation for redress
programmes, who selects the judicial files and how many victims or offenders (or support services for victims
and/or offenders) ask for a mediation for redress? The hypothesis is that a restorative justice programme is
successfully implemented if it is sustained by the broader society and not only by the penal system (the public
prosecutor). Author’s abstract.


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