Restorative Justice and the Law
Restorative practices have been used by a variety of Indigenous peoples in present day North America, Oceania, Europe and beyond long before they were enshrined into Canadian law. Many of these practices were adapted by settler North Americans to develop Restorative Justice as we know it today. In 1974, the Elmira Case marked the first Restorative Justice case recognized by Canadian law. Since then, Restorative Justice and Restorative practices have been built into:
- Criminal Code of Canada (R.S., 1985, c. C-46, s. 717)
- Youth Criminal Justice Act (S.C. 2002, c. 1, s. 4-5; s. 10, s. 19, s. 42)
- Canadian Victims Bill of Rights (S.C. 2015, c. 13, s. 2)
- Corrections and Conditional Release Act (S.C. 1992, c. 20, s. 3)
- Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, s 7,12,15, Part 1 of the Constitution Act, 1982, being Schedule B to the Canada Act 1982 (UK), 1982, c 11
- Canadian Case Law – R v. Proulx, (2000) 1 S.C.R. 61; R. v. Clough, (2001) B.C.P.C. 0074; R. v. L.A.M., (2006) B.C.P.C. 0211
- UN Declaration of Basic Principles on the use of Restorative Justice in Criminal Matters, 2002
Who Can Refer
Referral to a Restorative process can happen at any stage in a criminal trial by…
Restorative Justice can work independently or alongside the Criminal Court system.
A case is referred to RJ before charges are laid. If unsuccessful, charges can be laid later.
Charges are forwarded to the crown and then diverted to RJ.
After a guilty plea, the case is diverted to RJ, and the outcome is taken into account for sentencing.
A judge can include RJ in the sentence given.