The International Journal of Restorative Justice

Article

Restorative justice conferencing in Australia and New Zealand

Application and potential in an environmental and Aboriginal cultural heritage protection context

Keywords restorative justice conferencing, environmental offending, Aboriginal cultural heritage offending, connection to the environment
Authors Mark Hamilton
Author's information

Mark Hamilton
Mark Hamilton, PhD, is a lawyer and teaching fellow in the Criminology and Criminal Justice programme and the Law programme at the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia. Contact: mark.hamilton@unsw.edu.au.
  • Abstract

      Indigenous people may suffer harm when the environment, sacred places and sacred objects are destroyed or damaged. Restorative justice conferencing, a facilitated face-to-face dialogue involving victims, offenders, and pertinent stakeholders has the potential to repair that harm. This article explores the use of conferencing in this context with case law examples from New Zealand and New South Wales, Australia. As will be discussed, the lack of legislative support for conferencing in the Land and Environment Court of New South Wales means it is doubtful that such conferencing will develop past its current embryonic state. As well as using restorative justice conferencing to repair harm from past criminality, this article suggests that further research should explore the use of restorative justice to resolve present conflict, and prevent future conflict, where there is a disconnect between non-Indigenous use of the environment and Indigenous culture embedded in the environment.

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