12 December 2019

Jacques Claessen appointed endowed professor of Restorative Justice

Jacques Claessen (Associate Professor of Criminal Law, UM Faculty of Law) will be appointed as endowed professor of Restorative Justice on 15 December 2019. The chair was established by the Netherlands Restorative Justice Foundation and has been placed within the Criminal Law & Criminology Department, where Jacques has been working since 2003. The chair was made possible with financial support from the Bianchi Restorative Justice Foundation. 

Jacques Claessen portret

Restorative justice enables the parties involved in a conflict to decide for themselves what is needed in the aftermath of the conflict, also if the conflict was a consequence of crime. The purpose of restorative justice is to (symbolically) repair the harm caused by crime as much as possible; this concerns (im)material damage, damage to relations, and damage caused to the moral and legal order. The aim is also to prevent the recurrence of the conflict-causing behaviour, and to allow the parties involved to face the future without the burden of the past.

Added value
Since 2010, restorative justice has been given a major boost in the Netherlands, partly under the influence of EU regulations and recommendations from the Council of Europe. In 2011, for example, Article 51h of the Dutch Code of Criminal Procedure on restorative justice services was introduced, and a new restorative justice framework is currently being developed. Politicians also seem to recognise the added value of restorative justice, as evidenced by, among other things, the structural allocation of funding for mediation in and parallel to criminal law.

Increase knowledge
The purpose of this endowed chair is to increase knowledge regarding restorative justice, and about the relationship between restorative justice and criminal justice within the academic world and beyond: in the field of restorative justice, politics and among citizens. The focus will be on legal theory and normative-critical research, though emphasis will be placed on the exchange and interaction between legal theory and legal practice. The endowed professor will also focus on restorative justice in education, for example in the master’s course Criminal Sanctions.

Netherlands Restorative Justice Foundation (RJN)
Jacques has been involved in restorative justice for many years and is looking forward to continuing his work within the endowed chair. Collaboration with the Netherlands Restorative Justice Foundation has previously led to the so-called legislative proposal to introduce provisions governing restorative justice services into the Dutch Code of Criminal Procedure (Claessen et al. 2018), which was presented to the House of Representatives and the Minister for Legal Protection.