Bilbao 4-6/06/2019

EFRJ Symposium

The EFRJ organises a 2-day International RJ Symposium (Bilbao, Basque country, Spain, 5-6 June) on the newly adopted CoE Recommendation on RJ in criminal justice matters, including many interactive sessions for practitioners, policymakers and researchers to actively engage in the discussion. The event will be in English (and Spanish, see below for more info). Before the event, the EFRJ membership will meet for its Annual General Meeting on 4 June evening. More info on the Symposium below (here in Spanish).


Registrations are open (early bird: 20 April).  If you wish to contribute to the programme send your proposals before 12 April.



International RJ Symposium
Deusto University in Bilbao, 5-6 June 2019


In October 2018, the Council of Europe adopted the most advanced international legal instrument in the field of restorative justice: the Recommendation concerning restorative justice in criminal matters, based on the revision of the previous Recommendation on penal mediation. On the same year, the EFRJ launched the European Restorative Justice Policy Network to support national policymakers in need of advice and assistance to implement such Recommendation.

The Recommendation is very progressive because it advocates for the use of restorative justice in all stages of criminal procedures and in all types of crimes. This raises endless possibilities and challenges at the same time, and we need to ask important questions and share our experience on both. Are our standards of practice up the best level? What kind of training do restorative justice facilitators need? What kind of training do judicial agencies need? How can we enhance cooperation between judicial agencies and restorative justice agencies? How to increase access to restorative justice and how to provide information and offer this service? How to encourage restorative justice in specific settings, like in prisons and in juvenile justice cases? In how far can restorative justice empower the parties participating in its practices?

In order to create a platform for exchange, the EFRJ together with our local organizers, the Ministry of Labour and Justice of the Basque Government and Deusto University, organise this international symposium where the restorative community is offered the opportunity to reflect on these important advancements in the field and prepare in terms of policy and practice developments.

Central to our symposium will be the focus on the transition of policy and practice from a more narrow conception of “penal mediation” towards a full-fledged “restorative justice” in criminal (youth) justice systems. We will engage with the Recommendation both as a normative document which shows the way, but also as a document that points both towards possibilities and limitations in the field. Most importantly, we would like to enable practitioners and policy makers to “give life” to the Recommendation, by working together and gaining inspiration from others in the field.

The focus of the symposium will be on sharing good practices, reflections, but also concerns on three central themes: 1) Restorative justice unlimited?: The application of restorative justice in all the stages of the criminal procedure and for all types of crime, 2) Restorative justice in prison: risks and opportunities, and 3) Restorative justice and empowerment: focus on specific target groups.


In order to plan your trip accordingly, please find below a draft agenda. A more detailed programme can be viewed in the booklet.

The Symposium includes plenaries and moments to get to know the local experiences. Much attention is given to the parallel workshops and interactive sessions facilitated by invited experts around specific themes: these sessions are meant to be participatory, creating a forum for sharing and discussing experiences, challenges and opportunities around each theme. Participants can contribute to the programme by bringing a poster presentation, organising a fringe meeting and/or bringing materials from their organisation (deadline for the call for abstracts: 12 April).







17.00 Registrations (for the symposium and AGM)

18.00-20.00 AGM- Annual General Meeting of the EFRJ membership


08.30 Registrations

09.15 Welcome

10.00 Plenary I – Restorative justice unlimited?:The application of restorative justice in all the stages of the criminal procedure and for all types of crime

11.00 coffee break

11.30 Parallel workshops

13.00 Lunch

14.30 Interactive session I – Restorative justice in prison

16.00-16.30 Coffee and end of day 1

19.00-20.30 Walking dinner at the Azkuna Zentroa, AZ cultural centre in Bilbao

20.30-22.30 Theatre play “La Mirada del otro” + discussion

09.45 Welcome day 2

10.00 Plenary II – Restorative justice and empowerment: focus on specific target groups

11.00 Coffee break

11.30 Fair of organizations/ Posters/ Fringe meetings

12.30 Lunch

14.00 Interactive session II – Access to RJ

15.30 Coffee break

16.00 Plenary III – Restorative justice, Prison and Probation: Risks and opportunities

17.00-17.30 Closing

Registrations & Fees

Registrations are open. The deadline to register to the EFRJ Symposium is 8 May (Early-bird fee: 20 April). Registration is complete only after the payment has been received.
The registration fee includes:

  • Participation fee and materials for the two-day symposium
  • Lunches & coffee breaks
EFRJ member (individual/ organizational) 140 € 210 € 110 €
EFRJ member (student below 27 years) 80 € 130 € n.a.
Non-EFRJ member 220 € 300 € 190 €

Waivers: The EFRJ will grant a limited number of (full/ partial) waivers to participants for whom it is financially difficult to attend the Symposium. Applicants must be members of the EFRJ since 2018, or earlier: still, if you are a new member in 2019, you can register with a reduced fee. Full waivers cover the full registration fee; partial waivers will cover half registration fee. Transports to Bilbao are not covered by the waivers. The deadline to submit a waiver request is 1 March 2019. Please use the online waiver application form to submit your application. The main criteria for the selection are: experience, profession, motivation, and country representation. We will evaluate each request and inform you about the results within two weeks after the deadline. In case of negative response, the early-bird fee applies.

Cancellation policy: If you cancel your registration to the Symposium before 1 May, you will receive a refund of 70% of your registration fee. After this date, reimbursement is no longer possible.

Practical information

Venue: Deusto University, Unibertsitate Etorb., 24, 48007 Bilbao, Basque country, Spain

Travel: There is an international airport in Bilbao. Some low cost companies travel to Santander airport, which is 100 km away from Bilbao.

Language: The plenaries have simultaneous translation in English and Spanish; for the other sessions we offer informal translation; the theatre play is in Spanish with English subtitles.

Hotel: The EFRJ team will be staying at Hotel Conde Dueque in Bilbao: send them an email if you wish to book a room in the same hotel. Others will be staying in the Colegio Mayor Deusto, the university residence, which has special prices for our guests (only 10 rooms left!): send an email to book your room. Because of a fair in the city during the same week of the Symposium we advise you to book your room as soon as possible, as prices will get higher closer to June: check or for more options.