WG environmental justice

Working Group on Environmental Restorative Justice

The “Working Group on Restorative Environmental Justice” wants to focus on the question of how restorative justice can be an opportunity to bridge the ineffectiveness of current environmental responses and the pressing need to correct existing harmful practices and prevent future environmental damage.

Objectives of the working group

The EFRJ Working Group on Environmental Restorative Justice explores and testes the applicability of restorative justice to this new domain and this purpose fits within a pursuit of enlarging the field of restorative justice beyond ‘conventional crimes’. The enormous challenges related to environmental harm and crime worldwide interest many people, and therefore might offer a special opportunity to make a larger public familiar with restorative justice, and also to develop strategic alliances with (in this case environmental) groups in society. Mapping (international) environmental organisations and getting in touch with some of them has been one of the first activities as planned in the group's priorities. However, the main areas of work are:

- Case studies and exploratory research.

- Support to practice.

- Policy making.

- Public awareness/debate/networking.

Members of the working group 2022-2024

  • Ivo Aertsen (Belgium) 
  • Orika Komatsubara (Japan) 
  • Lawrence Kershen (UK) 
  • Miranda Forsyth (Australia) 
  • Ashleigh Dore (South Africa)
  • Carlos Braga da Silva (Brazil)
  • Felicity Tepper (Australia)
  • Viola Molteni (Italy)
  • Harry Spurr (UK)
  • Nirson Neto (Brazil)
  • Cristina Rego de Oliveira (Portugal/Brazil)

Chair: Gemma Varona (Spain)
Vice-chair: Femke Wijdekop (Netherlands)
Coordinator: Emanuela Biffi (Programme Coordinator) and Zsofia Anda (Finance and Administration Officer)
Board representative: Brunilda Pali 

Working Group Ressources

2024 International Mother Earth Day

On the occasion of the International Mother Earth Day 2024, we received a short video from Gemma Varona and her international and Basque students!

The video wants to raise awareness about environmental restorative justice, and also about the importance for the field to have an intergenerational approach to justice.

The Palgrave Handbook of Environmental Restorative Justice


Brunilda Pali, Miranda Forsyth and Felicity Tepper

This handbook explores the dynamic new field of Environmental Restorative Justice. Authors from the EFRJ working group on Environmental Restorative Justice and from diverse disciplines discuss how principles and practices of restorative justice can be used to address the threats and harms facing the environment today. The book covers a wide variety of subjects, from theoretical discussions about how to incorporate the voice of future generations, nature, and more-than-human animals and plants in processes of justice and repair, through to detailed descriptions of actual practices of Environmental Restorative Justice. The case studies explored in the volume are situated in a wide range of countries and in the context of varied forms of environmental harm – from small local pollution incidents, to endemic ongoing issues such as wildlife poaching, to cataclysmic environmental catastrophes resulting in cascades of harm to entire ecosystems. 

earth day 2022

Earth Day 2022 contribution

On 22 April 2022, the working group dedicated a special message to spread within our social media and restorative justice friends: Environmental Restorative Justice falls within the scope of this year's Earth Day topic: Invest in Our Planet. The working group advocates to include all of us, the community, victims, offenders, corporations, etc in the important task of preserving and restoring nature. 

Environmental Restorative Justice unsplash

On May 3rd 2021 our Working Group on Environmental Restorative Justice has submitted a commentary to the European Commission to revise the EU Directive 2008/99/EC on Environmental Protection through Criminal Law. The focus of the commentary is on the potential of restorative justice in cases of environmental crime, taking into account the complexity and specific nature of various forms of environmental harm and ecocide, and how existing restorative justice processes could be adapted in order to make truly restorative responses possible. Our submission includes innovative examples in some countries, and recommendations to the European Commission.

History of the working group

In the two years of its first mandate (2020-2022), the working group verified the great topicality of the issues addressed by environmental restorative justice, recording pilot cases, restorative practices and debates in many parts of the world. At the same time, the working group engaged in a dialogue with some important institutions of the European legal space and with some non-governmental organisations committed to the protection of the environment, establishing synergies in the field of strategies to combat ecocide and access to jurisdiction to protect the rights of nature, as well as in the field of environmental crimes.
In its work, the working group was confronted with crucial questions that arise when applying RJ to environmental conflicts, such as the problem of identifying the parties to the conflict, the development of a restorative output, the intertwining of environmental RJ and the criminal justice process, etc. The answer to such questions requires in-depth analysis, including legal analysis and experimentation at the practical level, as well as continued dialogue with political institutions and NGOs.

Acknowledgement to former members

  • Chiara Perini
  • Mike Batley

More on this topic

Environmental Justice booklet

Restoring the Future. Towards a restorative environmental justice praxis

Emanuela Biffi & Brunilda Pali, 2019

This booklet was published by the European Forum for Restorative Justice for celebrating the international Restorative Justice Week 2019. The booklet is a collection of articles written by researchers, practitioners, artists, activists interested and/or working on the intersections between environmental justice and restorative justice.

Thematic brief environmental restorative justice


by Brunilda Pali

The principles that drive restorative justice such as relational definitions of harm, participation, harm reparation and healing, are principles that must be central in conceiving environmental justice. The term environmental restorative justice indicates both how an environmental agenda can contribute to restorative justice and how restorative justice can be used in the context of environmental harm.

Contact person for this working group: Julia Barjau Dachs (julia.barjau@euforumrj.org)