Criminal Law and Philosophy

, Volume 3, Issue 2, pp 187–207 | Cite as

Outlining the Shadow of the Axe—On Restorative Justice and the Use of Trial and Punishment

  • Jakob von Holderstein Holtermann
Original Paper


Most proponents of restorative justice admit to the need to find a well defined place for the use of traditional trial and punishment alongside restorative justice processes. Concrete answers have, however, been wanting more often than not. John Braithwaite is arguably the one who has come the closest, and here I systematically reconstruct and critically discuss the rules or principles suggested by him for referring cases back and forth between restorative justice and traditional trial and punishment. I show that we should be sceptical about at least some of the answers provided by Braithwaite, and, thus, that the necessary use of traditional punishment continues to pose a serious challenge to restorative justice, even at its current theoretical best.


Braithwaite, John Court trial Responsive regulation Restorative justice State punishment 



I would like to thank members of the Danish Research Group for Criminal Justice Ethics, Roskilde University and two anonymous reviewers at Criminal Law and Philosophy for extensive and insightful comments resulting in substantial improvements to this paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Section for Philosophy and Science StudiesRoskilde UniversityRoskildeDenmark

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