You’ve been wronged by another person. You’ve been harmed. You want justice. Traditionally civil justice has come in one form: a lawsuit claiming monetary damages. These civil claims certainly provide benefits; they can provide a victim of a wrong with financial compensation to help them deal with the resulting harms.
But for many, financial compensation can only do so much. Enter Restorative Justice. With the help of experts in the field, the lawyers at Valent Legal have been at the forefront in the use of restorative justice as a means of addressing civil wrongs.
What is Restorative Justice?
Restorative justice is usually defined as an approach to justice that focuses on addressing the harm caused by a wrong, by providing an opportunity for the parties directly affected by the act – wrongdoer, victim, families, etc – to identify and address their needs in the aftermath of a wrongful act. It encourages meaningful engagement and accountability.
Restorative justice is based on an understanding that wrongful act is a violation of people and relationships. Respect, understanding, and compassion form the principles on which restorative justice is based. Restorative justice encourages meaningful engagement and accountability and provides an opportunity for healing, reparation, and reintegration.
How does it work?
Restorative justice can take many forms. It often involves a face-to-face meeting between the victim and the wrongdoer. Sometimes others less directly involved are invited into the discussion. The meetings are facilitated by trained professionals.
Participants are given the opportunity to discuss the wrong’s impact and they collectively decide how the wrongdoer can make amends. They can learn from the experience and take steps to prevent similar harms from happening again in the future.
The goal is to encourage healing for the participants, reparation of the harm on a holistic level (beyond the paying of financial compensation).
Research has shown that a restorative approach, which holds wrongdoers accountable in meaningful and constructive ways, can contribute to a more satisfying experience of justice for victims and communities as a whole.
Some of our work:
The lawyers at Valent Legal have considerable experience in the use of restorative justice as a means of addressing civil wrongs in Nova Scotia. Some of our work includes:
- Serving as legal counsel to Canada’s first Restorative Public Inquiry.
- Representing a family whose son passed away within a Nova Scotia correctional facility. The Facilitators’ Report can be found here.
If you or a loved one have been wronged by another person, and wish to explore restorative justice as an option, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us for a free consultation.