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.

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.

At a philosophical level, restorative justice is better aligned with ecocentric and indigenous approaches in defining what constitutes environmental harm and what constitutes environmental justice. It is possible therefore in restorative processes for stakeholders to define themselves as victims of environmental harm even if they are not so legally defined by the criminal justice system. It is also possible to narrate of a type of harm that is not legally acknowledged.

At a practical level, restorative justice has its participatory and dialogic processes to offer which enable all the stakeholders to sit together at a horizontal and respectful level and express grief, anger, fear, explain, clarify, and eventually commit to make amends and move on with new creative and reparative actions. Restorative processes can be applied within harmed communities, between harmed communities and corporations, between state and activists, and possibly also between humans and other-than humans.

In practical terms the working group

  • Produces a short document explaining the potential contribution of restorative justice in this domain;

  • Works together to develop a specific training of the EFRJ;

  • Supports and encourages research on the potential application of restorative justice in environmental harm situations;

  • Commits to regular virtual meetings and exchange of emails.

  • Can be consulted on this topic by EFRJ staff and members.

  • Initiate project proposals on the topic

Members (2020-2022)

  • Cristina Rego de Oliveira (Brazil) PhD in “Law, Justice, and Citizenship in the XXI Century” at the Faculty of Economics, Centre for Social Studies and Faculty of Law - University of Coimbra, Portugal and a facilitator in peacemaking circle in Brazil. 
  • Mike Batley (South Africa) is the CEO of the Restorative Justice Centre in South Africa and is currently involved with the Endangered Wildlife Trust. 
  • Orika Komatsubara (Japan) is a researcher working with a Fellowship for Young Scientists in Philosophy in Japan Society for the Promotion of Science and currently focusing on Minamata disease in Japan and studying it from the perspective of restorative justice. 
  • Lawrence Kershen (Great Britain) is a lawyer and accredited mediator who has actively supported restorative justice development in the UK and beyond. Lawrence has been chair of the UK Restorative Justice Council and he facilitated, like other mediations concerning environmental issues, a pre-sentence restorative justice meeting as part of the simulated Ecocide trial in London in 2012. 
  • Ivo Aertsen (Belgium) is a Professor Emeritus of the KU Leuven Institute of Criminology, one of the founders of the European Forum for Restorative Justice (EFRJ), co-organiser of the 2019 seminar in Leuven on "Restorative Justice Responses to Environmental Harm", co-chair of the EFRJ working group on Environmental Restorative Justice, and Editor of The International Journal of Restorative Justice.
  • Chiara Perini (Italy) is an Associate Professor of Criminal Law at the University of Insubria and a  member of the Scientific Council of the Center for Studies on Restorative Justice and Mediation. 
  • Miranda Forsyth (Australia) is an Associate Professor at the Australian National University and a socio-legal researcher in the School of Regulation and Global Governance (RegNet) in the College of Asia and Pacific at the ANU. 

Chairs: Ivo Aertsen and Chiara Perini.

Representative of the Board: Brunilda Pali, EFRJ Board Secretary and Senior Researcher at the Leuven Institute of Criminology.

Representative of the Secretariat: Julia Barjau Dachs


EFRJ contributions

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.

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

For more information about this working group contact Julia Barjau Dachs