research10.1177/0269758015571469

Enriching trial justice for crime victims in common law systems: Lessons from transitional environments

Abstract

The role of victims in the criminal trial has been subject to considerable critique in recent years. This article argues that scholarship and policy governing the treatment of victims and witnesses in ‘ordinary’ criminal trials within ‘settled’ societies may be substantially enriched by drawing lessons from the roles of, and practices affecting, victims within post-conflict societies. There is a clear need for policymakers and law reformers to look beyond the familiar spheres of the domestic criminal process if the justice system is to become more effective, just and legitimate in the eyes of both victims and the wider public. This article draws on both theory and praxis on the role of victims within transitional justice, and contends that trial justice in common law systems may be enriched through centring processes on three key themes which are commonly emphasised in transitional justice frameworks, these being (1) truth recovery; (2) victim participation and (3) reparation

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