European Forum for Restorative Justice (EFRJ)

Funders: AGIS 2003. With financial support from the AGIS Programme European Commission – Directorate General Justice and Home Affairs.

Summary of the project: AGIS is a European Commission framework programme to help police, the judiciary and professionals from the EU member states and candidate countries to co-operate in criminal matters and in the fight against crime.
Thanks to the AGIS project, 11 experienced mediators and trainers from as many European countries could meet twice in order to exchange information on training. This exchange resulted in:

  • A detailed overview of the organisation, contents and structure of training programmes in Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, England, Finland, France, Germany, Norway, Poland, Scotland and Spain.
  • Recommendations on the contents and the organisation of training.

The often rather limited co-operation between the representatives of the legal system and mediation services cannot be reduced to a weak organisational framework, a lack of practical skills or a lack of appropriate legal instruments. The underlying problem also refers to the legal culture. This culture concerns, among other things, the way crime problems are defined and solutions and tasks are perceived, the view on extra-judicial intervention and co-operation, the group mentality, stereotypes and resistance towards change. Therefore, training of prosecutors and judges – two legal key actors in the implementation of mediation initiatives – should concentrate on three fundamental aspects: knowledge, skills and attitudes.

With the help of the AGIS project of the European Commission, the European Forum set about developing training modules for prosecutors and judges on restorative justice. 10 judges, prosecutors and judges from 8 European countries met twice in order to develop a two-day training course for prosecutors and judges.

Final Report JAI/2003/AGIS/129 Working towards the creation of European training models for practitioners and legal practitioners in relation to restorative justice practices Exchange of Training Models for Mediation Practitioners