The International Journal of Restorative Justice


Restorative justice and access to justice: critical reflections of the global North-South divide

Keywords access to justice, global North-South divide, critical restorative justice, development
Authors Robert Peacock
Author's information

Robert Peacock
Robert Peacock is a Full Professor at the Department of Criminology, University of the Free State, South Africa. The 2022 Annual Lecture for The International Journal of Restorative Justice was given on the occasion of the 17th International Symposium of the World Society of Victimology in San Sebastián, Spain, on 8 June 2022. Corresponding author: Robert Peacock at
  • Abstract

      Within the global North-South divide, there is little reason to assume that any interventions, development programmes or economic reforms can ever fully resolve the underlying causes of many victimological harms that affect the periphery or so-called ‘developing’ countries or regions of the world unless and until they lead to greater freedom, equality, inclusivity, dignity and access to justice. Within a critical decolonising framework, context, accountability, reparations and reconciliation would remain essential humanising components of restorative justice and variability across a range of historical, geo-political, cultural and social settings. To advance the intense humaneness of a universal personhood, a functional imperative would be to remain vigilant and critical of power relations and of the macro- and micro-links between interpersonal victimisation and victimisation in wider society. Localised workings of privilege and power and the hierarchies that inform these relationships remain connected on the colonial-postcolonial continuum to global patterns and consequences of structural subordination and institutional victimisation and require a broader engagement with access to justice, epistemic privilege and the narrow and restrictive aspirations of western law as procedural remedy.

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