Conflict and consensus: a critique of the language of informal justice

Bottomley, A and Roche, Jeremy (1988). Conflict and consensus: a critique of the language of informal justice. In: Matthews, R ed. Informal Justice? Sage Contemporary Criminology. London: Sage, pp. 86–107.


Informal legal processes such as mediation, arbitration, conciliation, and reparation arose out of attempts to remove disputes from the formal courtroom setting and restore them to the community. Initially, solving disputes out of court but with legal guidance was widely hailed as an alternative to the punishment model of justice and the restricting nature of the adversarial legal system. Now it is viewed as being a progressive constructive alternative to the formal legal process and as providing further expansion of the legal system. Roger Matthews has gathered together a team of distinguished contributors to present and evaluate the potential of informal justice benefits for victims, offenders, and the criminal justice system. This volume offers insightful information into the practical potential of mediation and other schemes and discusses the broader questions of social control, power, and the state. The research and practical experience of the authors contributes greatly to the authenticity of the contents and to the value of the book.

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