Developing judicial training for restorative justice: Towards a European approach


Promoter: European Forum for Restorative Justice (Belgium)

Partners: Leuven Institute of Criminology (LINC) at the University of Leuven (Belgium), University of Ulster (Northern Ireland), University Carlos III de Madrid (Spain), Verwey-Jonker Instituut (The Netherlands), Mediation Development Foundation (Poland) and, Istanbul Bilgi University (Turkey).

Supervisor of project: Prof Dr Stephan Parmentier
Research-Coordinator of project: Av Tzeni Varfi

Duration: 21 months (01/01/2013-30/09/2014)

Funding: This project is funded by the European Commission – Criminal Justice Programme – JUST/2011/JPEN/AG/2977.

Summary of project: In order to enhance the role of the judiciary (public prosecutors and judges) in restorative justice, more knowledge and expertise has to be built on how to effectively train members of the judiciary to best secure their cooperation with victim-offender mediation and conferencing programmes. This research project aims to develop good practices around providing such training for the judiciary, to deliver training and to support the building of networks amongst legal professionals in the field of RJ. Existing research will be used to describe the relation –cooperation between the court related actors and the Restorative Justice (RJ) services, in order to better know the particularities and the requirements of the role of the judiciary applying the RJ practices. This will be done at three levels:

• Existing practices on RJ experiences will be explored and analysed in depth. This learning will also relate to the resistances in professional culture and possible organisational/legal obstacles that are met in practice when developing training for the judiciary;
• Other relevant experiences in training of the judiciary will be explored in order to identify the good practices and policies;
• Bases on the knowledge gained in the two previous phases, several innovative training modules will be elaborated and tested.

Main research question: The guiding questions in order to achieve the overall objective of the project are:
– What are the relevant training practices and policies so far adopted in European countries?
– Can we further develop innovative training models, which will be tried out in a few countries and to be evaluated in function of their possible generalisation?
– Can networking among the judiciary be stimulated and established both at national and European level in order to support sustainable implementation of RJ?

The project is coordinated by European Forum for Restorative Justice (EFRJ) but 5 other European research institutions actively participate in the research. In addition to the researchers taking part, three practitioners are also in the steering group and will take an active role in the conception and realisation of the practical guide. A special effort will be made towards the dissemination of the project results through the organisation of four trainings (Northern Ireland, The Netherlands, Poland, Spain) and four Steering group meetings (Leuven).

If you would like more information on the project, please contact the EFRJ Secretariat.

Due to a copyright problem the original research report and workbook are temporarily unavailable.