The 3E Model for a Restorative Justice Strategy in Europe

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This was an EU funded research and policy project that was carried out between 2011 - 2014. It sought to construct an effective, economic European strategy model for the diffusion of restorative justice as a response to crime. The 3E’s Project started in June 2011 and was run by a consortium of 7 countries, led by Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece.  Dr. Theo Gavrielides, Director of IARS, was the Project Lead for the UK.

The project is linked with IARS' work on devising a regional restorative justice strategy for Greater Manchester Probation Trust as well as our work with the UK Ministry of Justice on developing and implementing a national restorative justice strategy. As a community born and community led ethos, restorative justice is an area of interest and exploration for IARS and its mission for community led solutions for a fairer society.

The project is funded under EU Grant Agreement JUST/2010/JPEN/AG/1534 

"Restorative Justice is an ethos with practical goals, among which is to restore harm by including affected parties in a (direct or indirect) encounter and a process of understanding through voluntary and honest dialogue. Restorative justice adopts a fresh approach to conflicts and their control, retaining at the same time certain rehabilitative goals"(Gavrielides 2007)

In 2010, the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki put together a European consortium and won a bid under the European Commission (Directorate General Justice, Freedom and Security) Specific Programme Criminal Justice. The consortium partners are: Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences (Greece- Athens), Independent Academic Research Studies  (UK- London), Institute of Conflict Resolution (Bulgaria –Sofia), University of Lapland (Finland- Rovaniemi), Jagiellonian University of Cracow (Poland – Cracow), University of Miskolc (Hungary – Miskolc), Ramon Llull University – Faculty of Law of the Business and Management School (Spain –Barcelona).

The project was designed within the context of current national and regional policy, legislative and institutional changes and planned opportunities. It is based on the premise of cross-country learning.

The project carried out a comparative study of 11 European countries from the North, Western, Central, Eastern and South Europe to develop a coherent strategy for restorative justice across Europe. The project first researched existing best practice and expertise in the participating countries and then drew upon this knowledge to produce a coherent strategy which was tested within existing justice systems, with a view to informing future EU policy.

Outputs include: 

  • collect specific and updated legal, factual and statistical data on law and practice of Restorative Justice of all the participant countries and study of practices and measures of restorative justice in 11 European countries, especially the  last five years
  • analyze and categorize the collected information and present the distribution of Restorative Justice on Europe as a mapping exercise
  • point out the obstacles to implementation and any possible risks in relation to penal procedural rights, as well as to detect both the strengths and weakness of Restorative Justice in the various examined jurisdictions
  • prepare a reference guide of effective measures and policies towards the promotion of restorative justice in different criminal justice systems taking into consideration the varying cultural, social and legal characteristics and elaborate of proposals for legislative measures on a European level for the improvement of the Restorative Justice strategy
  • organize transnational meetings between the representatives of the participant countries and help them exchange good practices and methods
  • contribute to a formation of a coherent model of a European strategy in this area. 

Through evidence based research, consultation and networking the project aims to create the following outcomes: 

  • facilitate the implementation of good practice throughout Europe
  • encourage cross-country learning and collaboration in the area of restorative justice
  • influence national and international policy
  • identify a sound basis for restorative justice that is adjustable to all the nations and justice systems within the European Union
  • inform and influence restorative practices and the restorative justice movement
  • increase public awareness and promote the use of restorative justice
  • publish (academic aims and progression).


The UK research and policy project:

  • mapped current legislation and identified key legislative, policy and institutional proposals impacting on restorative justice
  • critically examined the development of restorative justice in the UK with a view to identify gaps, opportunities, strengths and weaknesses
  • assessed and evaluated the delivery of restorative justice and its effectiveness, on a national basis
  • helped design a guide and a measurable model for further application.

Within the UK the relevant authorities responsible for criminal justice in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland were consulted; along with key restorative justice agencies.

In 2012 we produced the e-book "Restorative Justice in the UK" as part of the project. This can be purchased from IARS Publications.

In May 2013 The international conference 'Restorative Justice: Towards a new European Perspective'  held in Thessaloniki launched the final results of the project. The conference spanned two days and was chaired by Professor Kastanidou, Pitsela and Alexiadis of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. 

Dr. Theo Gavrielides participated at the conference outlining the philosophical foundations of restorative justice and identifying the key challenges for the development and implementation of a pan-European strategy. Please find his presentation in the project resources below.

In 2013, we will be publishing the final report by McKenna and Gavrielides which will include findings from our fieldwork and an evidence based recommendation for a European restorative justice strategy. To pre-order your copies 


Dr. Theo Gavrielides presentation - Thessaloniki16th-17th of May 2013'Restorative Justice: Towards a new European Perspective' 

Gavrielides, T. (2013). “How firm are the theoretical foundations of restorative justice?” in (Ed) Pitsela, E. and Simeonidou-Kastanidou, Restorative Justice in Criminal  Matters: Towards a European Perspective, Sakkoulas Publications: Athens, Thessaloniki, 273.

Lyon, B., Matczak, A. and T. Gavrielides (2012), Restorative Justice in the UK, London: IARS Publications. 978-1-907641-14-5 (online).


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