Criminal proceedings in Ireland

It is the job of the police to investigate crimes in Ireland. The police in Ireland are called the gardaí (An Garda Síochána). We will call them police on this website.

Criminal proceedings is the word used to describe a case that is going through the criminal justice system. A case begins when an accused person is questioned by the police as part of an investigation. Then, an accused is charged (accused of a crime) as a result of those investigations. Criminal proceedings then move through different stages of a criminal case. Proceedings begin with the police investigations and can continue all the way through to a trial and an appeal if one is taken.

A trial happens in court before a judge. In some cases, there is a judge and jury. This depends on the type of charges or the directions given by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

What is a crime?

Someone commits a crime when they cause, on purpose or sometimes without meaning to, harm or damage to another person or their property. The harm can be physical, psychological or emotional. Some crimes do not have a victim. For example, public order offences like being drunk in public. We know something is a crime because the law says that it is illegal. If someone is convicted of a crime or pleads guilty, a judge will decide what happens to them.

Should I report the crime?

It is completely your decision whether or not to report a crime.

The police would like all crimes to be reported. We understand that there are many different reasons why you might not want to report a crime, and you are entitled to do whatever is in your best interests at the time. It is your decision and nobody can pressure you to report a crime, not even the police.

If you decide not to report a crime at the time, you can still report it later. However, there are rules about how long after a crime happens that it can be brought to court. If the crime is seen as less serious (one that would come before the District Court the time limit is usually six months. For more serious crimes there is usually no set time limit, but a judge can decide that a delay is too long if it means that there might not be a fair trial. This might happen if witnesses have died or evidence is no longer available.

For information on reporting a crime see the police’s website.

What if I was the victim of an international crime?

Criminal proceedings in Ireland / Should I report the crime? / What if I was the victim of an international crime?
What if I was the victim of an international crime?Criminal proceedings in Ireland / What if I was the victim of an international crime?
An “international crime” is the name we use to describe the most serious crimes that happen throughout the world.

Examples of international crimes:

If you were the victim of such a serious crime in another country, even a war zone, you can go to the Irish police and report this crime.

Ireland has to identify, investigate and prosecute the people who have committed these crimes. Usually, the Irish courts can only judge crimes if they have been committed in Ireland or by or against its citizens. However, international crimes are so serious they can and should be prosecuted in any country.

Where do I report an international crime?

The Garda National Bureau of Criminal Investigation (GNIB) investigates the most serious crimes. They have a dedicated department which investigates reports of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

As part of their investigations, the GNIB has the power to:
• investigate nationally and internationally
• gather evidence
• engage with victims, witnesses, and suspects

Supports for victims of international crimes

The Garda Victims Service office is the central contact point for victims of all crimes. They have 28 offices nationwide. They will update you on your complaint and the progress of your file. They can also put you in contact with some of the many support services on offer.

Investigation of an offence

What is the investigation stage?

The police in Ireland are called An Garda Síochána or the “Gardaí”, we will call them the police.

The investigation stage is when the police gather evidence of a crime. This might include:

  • Going to the scene of the crime to look for physical evidence
  • Reviewing CCTV footage
  • Interviewing the victim and other people who witnessed the crime.
  • Once the investigation is finished, the police put together a file on the case and send it to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) if it is a more serious offence.

Decision to prosecute

You are entitled to know if the offender is charged with a crime.

Who makes the decision?
• For serious crimes, it is the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) who decides whether to prosecute or not.
• For less serious crimes it is the police.

The decision is based on the public interest.

In deciding whether or not to prosecute, the DPP or the police think about whether the evidence gathered would be likely to secure a conviction (a guilty verdict). The evidence has to convince the judge or jury that the offender is guilty “beyond reasonable doubt”. If there is any doubt about who committed the crime, the person cannot be convicted. It is a high standard.

If there is enough evidence to suggest that a conviction is likely, the offender will then be prosecuted.

You can request a summary of the decision not to prosecute from the police or the DPP. They will explain why they thought a prosecution was not in the public interest. For example, if key witnesses were not available.

After the DPP or the police makes their decision to not prosecute a case, you have 28 days to ask for the reasons why they chose not to prosecute. In certain circumstances, you can request a review of the decision after 28 days.

You will be sent the details of the review when it has been carried out in writing.
For more information on the DPP’s decision to prosecute see their website.

Going to court

If the DPP or police decide to prosecute the case will be assigned to a court.

Which court does the case go to?

There are different courts which deal with different crimes.
Which court the case will be sent to depends on how serious the crime is.

The District Court

The District Court deals with minor or less serious criminal matters. There is one judge and no jury. These are called crimes that are tried “summarily“ The maximum sentence at the District Court is 1 year for 1 offence.

As they are less serious crimes, the hearing of the evidence can happen much faster than if a case was being presented to a jury in a higher court. If there is an appeal of a case from the District Court, the appeal trial then moves to the Circuit Court.

Hybrid offences
Some crimes can be heard by the District Court or at the Circuit Criminal Court (on “indictment“).

At the District Court it will be decided whether the accused should be sent to the Circuit Criminal Court for a jury trial.

The Children’s Court

There is a specific court called the Children’s Court for offenders who are under the age of 18. The Children’s Court deals with charges against children in certain minor offences. The court can sometimes deal with more serious offences.

The Circuit Court

The Circuit Court deals with indictable offences. Indictable offences are more serious types of crimes and can impose more serious penalties. Examples of these offences include:

  • robbery
  • assault
  • motor offences

The Circuit Court also deals with appeals from the District Court, which are a complete rehearing of the case. The Circuit Court has more serious penalties or sentencing options.

Most crimes are heard by the Circuit Criminal Court. There is one judge and a jury. The defence or prosecution can appeal the outcome (verdict) of a case heard in the Circuit Criminal Court to the Court of Appeal.

The Central Criminal Court

Very serious crimes are heard by the Central Criminal Court.

This court deals with the most serious crimes of murder and sexual assaults and rape.

There is one judge and a jury.

The defence or prosecution can appeal the outcome (verdict or sentence) of a case heard in the Central Criminal Court to the Court of Appeal or, in some instances, directly to the Supreme Court.

The Special Criminal Court

The Special Criminal Court is a court without a jury that hears cases of crimes of a certain category, for example, terrorist-related cases or cases relating to gangland violence. There are three judges.

The Court of Appeal

The Court of Appeal deals with appeals from the Circuit Criminal Court, the Central Criminal Court and the Special Criminal Court in criminal cases. There are three judges.

The Supreme Court

The Supreme Court is the highest court in Ireland and is the final stage for hearing appeals. Depending on how important a case is, it may be heard in the Supreme Court by either three, five or seven judges.

Initial Appearance

This is where an accused appears before the court to be charged. The alleged offences are put to them. This happens almost always at the District Court. At this first appearance, their barrister might request legal aid and ask for bail.


What is bail?

Bail is when an accused person is released because they or someone else has promised that they will appear in court for their trial. Bail is based on the principle that the accused is presumed (accepted as) innocent until proven guilty after a trial.

A person can be released on bail after being charged in court by the judge. The person is released with bail conditions that they have to keep until they reappear in court at a later date.

Why might an offender be released on bail?

A judge decides whether or not to keep an accused in custody (in jail) until the trial or to release them on bail.

Usually, when someone is denied bail, it is for one of the following reasons:

1. A belief that it is likely that they would not show up for the trial, that they are a “flight risk”.

2. A belief that it is likely that they will interfere with the witnesses.

3. A belief that it is likely that they will destroy evidence.

4. A belief, if the crime alleged is a serious crime, that it is likely that they might commit other serious crimes while on bail.

An accused person can appeal the decision not to be granted bail before the trial.

Arraignment (guilty or not guilty plea)

If an accused person has been sent forward for a trial in the Circuit Court or in the Central Criminal Court, the next day in court is the arraignment date.

On this day the case is called and the accused must indicate whether they are pleading either guilty or not guilty. If they plead not guilty, the judge sets a trial date. If they plead guilty the judge sets a sentencing date.

Preliminary trial hearing

A pre-trial hearing can be requested by the judge or requested by the prosecution or the defence.

There can be more than one pre-trial hearing.

The aim of the pre-trial hearing is to avoid delays in the trial process and protect the interests of the victims.

The judge can assess:

1. The availability of witnesses for the trial

2. Whether any practical measures or technological equipment may be needed for the trial (for example any special measures for any of the witnesses)

3. The extent to which the trial is ready to go ahead (including whether there are any unresolved issues relating to disclosure of evidence)

4. The likely length of the trial

Disclosure: This is the process of the prosecution sharing of all relevant materials about the case and the investigation with the defence. The prosecution must share all of its materials on the case with the defence, including evidence it will not use at trial. This is so there can be a fair trial. This process can delay trials.

The trial

If an accused person pleads not guilty then there has to be a trial. The burden of proof is with the prosecution. This means that they have to prove that the accused is guilty of the crime “beyond reasonable doubt”. Beyond reasonable doubt is the standard of proof in a criminal trial. This means that there cannot be any doubt in the mind of the jury (or the judge in the District Court) whether the accused is guilty or not.

During the trial the prosecution will present its case. The defence will try to persuade the judge or jury that there are holes in the prosecution cases or raise doubts in their minds. The defence do not have to put forward their own version of evidence or their own evidence, as it is the prosecution’s job to present the case.

During the criminal trial, you do not have a right to give evidence unless you are giving evidence as a witness for the police.
You can only give evidence about facts that you know (what you saw, what you heard, what happened to you). You cannot give evidence about what someone else saw or heard. That kind of evidence is called ‘hearsay’ and there is a rule stating that you cannot give hearsay evidence.

1. Swearing in of the jury

On the first day of the trial a judge swears in a jury.

2. Opening the trial – the prosecution’s opening speech

Next, the prosecuting barrister makes an opening speech outlining their case.

3. The presentation of the prosecution’s case

Then the evidence begins:

  • the prosecution presents their evidence first
  • the defence can test the evidence by cross-examining the witnesses

If you are being called as a witness this is when you will be called.

4. Defence application of “no case to answer”

After the prosecution case finishes (after they have called all their witnesses), there is a possibility that the defence will make a special application. This is an application to the judge to withdraw the case from the jury and ask for a not-guilty verdict. This can happen if the defence makes the argument that there is not enough evidence for the jury to find the accused guilty or that the trial is unfair. This is called a “no case to answer” application.

If this application is unsuccessful the trial continues.

5. The presentation of the defence’s case

Next, the defence has an opportunity to present evidence. The defence does not have to present any evidence if they do not want to. The accused might choose to give evidence but they do not have to. This is because of the way our criminal justice system works. Our system puts the burden of proving a crime was committed on the prosecution. The defence does not have to prove they are not guilty. Only the prosecution has to prove that they are guilty.

If the defence does give evidence by calling witnesses or the accused to give evidence the prosecution can test the evidence by cross-examining the witnesses.

6. Closing speeches
Once all the evidence has been heard, each side makes a closing speech.

7. The judges’ charge
The judge then “charges” the jury by explaining to them the law and summarising the evidence.

8. The jury deliberate (discuss the evidence privately)

To find out more about the role of the jury see this website.

When the jury leaves the court after hearing the judge’s charge, the legal teams might “make requisitions” on the charge given by the trial judge. This means that they might ask the judge to clarify things they feel were either left out, vague or wrongly presented to the jury. The other side will give their view on whether they think the jury should hear this new or clarifying information.

9. The jury’s verdict
Then the jury makes their decision on guilt.

If the accused is found guilty a date will be set for sentencing. This means a date will be set on which the judge will decide and say officially what the punishment of the offender will be.

If the accused is found not guilty they are free to go. Remember that they are many reasons why an accused might be found not guilty. There is support available to you. See “Support services.

Who is who in court

Different people will be in court, playing different roles. Let’s get to know them better.

Accused: This is the person who has been charged and accused of the crime. The case is happening to find out if they are guilty or not guilty. They sit opposite or facing the jury. They will only become a convicted offender if they are found guilty.

Barrister: A lawyer who either defends the accused person or prosecutes on behalf of the DPP/State. The barrister usually presents the case in court and can wear a long black gown. They are sometimes called ‘counsel’. The defence counsel sits on the side of the courtroom nearest the accused person and the prosecution counsel sits on the side of the jury.

Character witness: A witness who gives evidence on the character of the accused. This can happen during the trial or at sentencing.

Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP): The DPP prosecutes cases on behalf of the people of Ireland. The DPP is the public prosecutor and can also be called the State as they represent the State of Ireland. It is represented in court by the solicitor sitting closest to the jury box and the barrister sitting opposite the solicitor. This is the prosecuting legal team.

The DPP is in charge of prosecuting serious cases that are heard by a jury in the Circuit Criminal Court or the Central Criminal Court. Less serious cases are currently prosecuted in the District Court by lawyers representing the DPP or by members of the police service. The DPP gives general direction and advice in these cases and can give specific direction to the police if they request assistance.

The DPP does not give legal advice to members of the public. If you have a legal question, you can contact the Free Legal Advice Centre.

Expert witness: An expert can give evidence of their opinion on a subject that is outside of the ordinary knowledge of the judge and jury. This type of professional witness has expertise in relation to the subject they are giving evidence about. For example, they could be an expert in medicine or forensic science and their evidence will be about this area.

Judge: The judge oversees a case in court and sets the sentence if the accused is found guilty. In the District Court and the Special Criminal Court the judge (or judges) decide on whether or not the accused is guilty and what the sentence will be. In the Central Criminal Court and the Circuit Criminal Court it is the jury who decides whether or not the accused is guilty. The judge then decides on what the sentence will be. The judge makes sure both sides are playing by the rules so that there is a fair trial. If there is a legal argument, the jury leaves the court and the judge decides on the issue.

Judicial Assistant: The Judicial Assistant helps the judge with research and sits to the side of the judge.

Jury: A group of 12 people who listen to the evidence given by both sides and determine what the facts are. They are responsible for deciding if a person is guilty or not guilty of an offence/crime (in all courts apart from the District Court and the Special Criminal Court). They do not give a reason for their decision. They do not play any role in deciding on the sentence.

Media: Journalists who sit in court and report on cases. Legitimate journalists can always sit in all cases even if they are being held in private (in camera). However, there are some restrictions on what details about the accused and the victim they can report on if the case is sensitive, for example in sexual violence cases. The judge can make an order saying that the details of a Victim Impact Statement are not to be published by the media.

Police: An Garda Síochána is the Irish police service. In the District Court the police prosecute crimes. In higher courts they investigate and the prosecution legal team prosecute. The police might appear to give evidence.

Prison officer: If the accused has come from prison to court, a prison officer will accompany them during the court case.

Public: Members of the public can sit in court and observe. However, there can be times when the public is not allowed in. An example is where the offender is a minor and proceedings are held “in camera” (in private).

Registrar: The Registrar sits in front of and assists the Judge. They call the case and record names of witnesses or decisions in cases. They assist witnesses in taking the oath or affirmation.

Solicitor: A lawyer who either defends the accused person or prosecutes on behalf of the DPP. The solicitor prepares the case for court and sits opposite the barrister in court. The defence solicitor sits on the side of the courtroom nearest the accused person and the prosecuting solicitor sits closest to the jury.

Victim: The person who the crime/offence has been carried out against. They might have suffered different types of harm as a result of the crime such as physical or emotional harm or suffered or economic loss which was directly caused by a criminal offence.

The family members of a person whose death was directly caused by a criminal offence are also considered victims of crime.

Witness: A witness can be called to give evidence relating to the offence by either side (the DPP or the defence). They will first be questioned by the side who called them (examination in chief). The other side will then have an opportunity to question them again (cross-examination). Witnesses cannot give their opinions, only evidence on facts within their knowledge.

Can I use social media during a trial?

You should not post any information online about your trial or the crime. If the jury can see information about it the trial on social media, the judge could decide that this could make the trial unfair. It could even lead to a trial not going ahead. This is because of the “Sub Judice” rule [hyperlink to glossary]. “Sub Judice” means something that is being examined by a judge. While something is “Sub Judice” you should not share information it online or anywhere. This rule begins from the start of criminal proceedings, so when the accused is charged with a crime.

Why does the accused not have to give evidence?

The accused can choose to give evidence themselves (“testify”) if they want to. They do not have to give evidence.
This might seem unfair, especially if you had to give evidence. However, this is because it is the prosecution’s job to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. The defence does not have to prove anything and does not have to present their own evidence if they do not want to. All they have to do is raise doubts or pick holes in the prosecution’s case. It is important to remember that the accused might not give evidence and that this is normal in our system.

Can i be protected in court?

Special measures can be put in place when a victim has been assessed and granted protection.

If you are afraid to come to court because you are being intimidated or do not wish to see whoever committed the crime in court, the court can exclude them from the courtroom and your identity can be protected. For example, you can give your evidence using a video-link.

For more information see Rights when giving evidence at trial

Tips for testifying in court

When it is time to give your evidence, your name will be called and you will walk up to the witness box. There, the Registrar will ask you to swear an oath on the Bible or your own religious text or to affirm (or promise) (if you are not religious) to tell the truth.

Know what to call people

  • When you are speaking or replying to the judge, you can call them “judge”. In Ireland, we do not call judges “your Honour”.
  • When you are speaking or replying to the barristers asking you questions, you can call them “counsel” or by their name, for example, Ms Burke.

Listen well and take your time when speaking

  • Keep calm and talk slowly into the microphone so everyone can hear you.
  • Listen carefully to any questions you are asked.
  • It is okay and normal to feel nervous. You are just answering the questions you are being asked.
  • If at any time you are upset or feel overwhelmed and need a break, you can ask the judge.

Ask questions if you need to

  • Do not be afraid to ask the barrister to repeat any questions they ask you if you are unclear about anything.
  • If you are asked a question you do not know the answer to, just tell the barrister you do not know.

Say what you know to be true

  • Give as much detail as you can remember correctly.
  • Only give details of facts that you know to be true.
  • When testifying, you will be asked questions that might make you feel uncomfortable and could upset you. Know and get support if you need it. You can find details of support organisations on this website under Support Services.
  • Remember you are only telling the judge and jury what happened and you are not responsible for any decisions made as a result of your evidence. That is the responsibility of the jury and/or the judge.

Outcomes of a trial

There are two main outcomes of a trial. Either a guilty verdict when the case has been proven. Or, a not-guilty verdict when the case has not been proven against a person.

If the accused is found to be guilty the judge will give them some form of punishment which is called a sentence.

In the District Court, this might happen right away after the judge decides on a verdict after the evidence. However, in higher courts, the case might be put back (adjourned) until a later date for the sentencing. The prosecution will seek to put the date back so you have time to prepare your Victim Impact Statement. This time is also used so the judge has time to gather reports and information (for example from the probation service).

Sentencing stage

If the accused is found guilty, you will have an opportunity to address the court with your views on the impact the crime had on you. This is called a Victim Impact Statement. You can read more about advice on how to write your Victim Impact Statement at this website.
The judge can make an order stating that the information in your Victim Impact Statement cannot be published by the media. This means it is kept private and heard only by whoever is in court at the time.

What is a “suspended sentence”?

This is where the judge sets a sentence but puts it on hold for a set period of time. The convicted person must stay out of trouble or they will serve the full time in prison. For example, a sentence could be set for 18 months with the last six months “suspended”. After 12 months in prison, the convicted person is released for the final six months on the condition that they do not re-offend.

Other types of sentences

Imprisonment: This is a period of time that is served in prison for an offence.

Concurrent sentence: This is when a person is convicted of more than one offence and the court orders the two sentences to be served together at the same time. For example, if the judge found the appropriate sentence to be four years for one crime and one year for another crime, the convicted person would receive a four-year sentence in prison. The two sentences overlap.

Consecutive sentence: This is when a person is convicted of more than one offence and the court orders them to be served one after the other. For example, if the judge found the appropriate sentence to be four years for one crime and one year for another crime, the convicted person would receive a five-year prison sentence. The sentences do not overlap. The decision of whether to give a concurrent or consecutive sentence is for the judge. Usually, concurrent sentences are given. A consecutive sentence might be given if the offences were quite different or if they did not occur around the same time.

Community service order: A person has to do work assigned by the court for a set time and it has to help society.

Restriction on movement: This is where the court orders a person to restrict their movement. This is usually done by imposing a curfew or having their movements supervised.

Fine: These are given by the court and are usually a set amount that has to be paid within a set time.

Probation order: This is when the court sets an order or warning against a person instead of a sentence. It means that a probation officer is assigned to the offender who then directs various actions which the offender must comply with.

Disqualification: This is an order given by the court to stop a person from doing a certain thing, for example disqualifying them from driving.


What is an appeal? When either the prosecution or the convicted offender asks a higher court to listen or look at their case again (after it has been heard) in the hope that a different decision will be reached.

What can an offender appeal?

1. Appeal of the conviction
A person who has been convicted of a crime is allowed to appeal that decision (called a ‘verdict‘). They may think that they should not have been convicted. They may believe that they are not guilty. That person is entitled to ask a higher court to look at their case again in the hope that they will be found not guilty.

2. Appeal of the sentence
A person who has been convicted of a crime can also appeal their sentence. This is where the convicted person can argue in the higher court that the sentence/punishment they received was too harsh and ask for a lighter sentence. For example, if the person received a prison sentence of 10 years, they could argue that 10 years is too long.

If someone who has been convicted of a crime is appealing their verdict from the District Court, the Circuit Court will do a full rehearing of the case. If it is an appeal from a verdict of a jury in the Circuit Criminal Court, it will not be a full rehearing of the case but a review of the evidence given. This means that the judges will read what happened in the trial during what is called an appeal hearing. Only very rarely will a witness need to give their evidence again.

Unless you are needed to give your evidence again, you do not have to attend the appeal hearing if you do not want to. The police will keep you informed about what happens.

When can the prosecution appeal?

The prosecution can also appeal a verdict. When the prosecution appeals a case to a higher court, it is normally because they think the sentence was too low or “unduly lenient”. For example, if the person received a prison sentence of five years, the prosecution might say that five years is too short.

However, there are also some circumstances when the accused person was found not guilty that the prosecution can ask the higher court to order a retrial.

After sentencing

After the offender is sentenced in court, the police must, without delay, give you information about:

1. Victim support services and
2. How you can take part in the management of the sentence.

If you chose to take part in the management of the sentence you will be informed if there is going to be a transfer between prisons and the expected release dates.

You do not have to take part in the management of the sentence, you might find it too traumatic and not want to hear about what happens during the sentence. But if you want to, you can play a role. It is voluntary and you can change your mind and stop participating at any time.


What is parole?

Parole is a decision to release an offender from prison before the end of their sentence if they promise good behaviour. This release can be permanent or temporary and the decision can be reversed at any time.

When can an offender apply for parole?

Prisoners serving life sentences who have served 12 years or more may be eligible to apply for parole. The first parole review for a prisoner servicing a life sentence will not take place until 12 years of the sentence have been completed.

How often can an offender apply for parole?

If unsuccessful in their first parole application, an offender can reapply for parole again but no sooner than two years after the first refusal. The refusal decision will set out the date when they can reapply for parole.

Who is the Parole Board?

The Parole Board is a group of people who decide whether or not a prisoner should be released from prison on parole. They are independent of the government or any other bodies or political parties.

What is the purpose of the Parole Board?

The Board must provide information to victims about its functions. The Board can order the release of an offender when they are sure that the offender does not present an excessive risk to the safety and security of the public (including to you). The Board must also be sure that the offender has been rehabilitated and can reintegrate into society. The Parole Board must consider all of the circumstances before deciding on parole.

How do I take part?
You have to register with the Parole Board to take part in the process. Register here with the Parole Board.

For more information on your rights in the parole process see Rights in the parole process

When will the offender be released?

If the offender was given a specific sentence and not a life sentence, they will be released before the end of that sentence. Release before the end of a sentence is called remission. Prisoners are generally released after 75% of their sentence if they do not commit a crime in prison. This is usually referred to as “standard remission” of 25%. So, if an offender was sentenced to four years, they will be released after three years. However, offenders can be released with more than 25% remission, up to 33% or one-third of their sentence for good behaviour. An offender might also be released temporarily or early on parole.
Read more about when an offender can be released early.

Restorative justice

Restorative justice focuses on addressing and repairing the harm caused to you as the victim of a crime, rather than punishing the person who committed the offence for the laws that have been broken.

It is a voluntary process where you meet with the person who committed the crime, or communicate with them indirectly. This is prepared and facilitated by a professional or volunteer who acts as an independent, impartial third party. This third party will work with you to help you decide if you want to participate and ensure that you benefit from, and are not harmed by, the process. You get a chance to tell the person who committed the crime how the crime made you feel and affected you. The person who committed the crime will have a chance to apologise, if this is what you are seeking and if they want to do so. The goal of restorative justice is to resolve matters arising from the offence in a structured, safe way that helps meet all parties’ needs and prevent the harm from reoccurring.
To participate in restorative justice, the person responsible must acknowledge and accept what they did to you and they must consent to participate. You also cannot be required to participate in a restorative justice scheme. You would only participate if you give free and informed consent to do so, once you are fully prepared and made aware that you can withdraw your consent or agreement from participating at any time.

You are entitled to full information about the process, the possible outcomes, and details about how any agreement may be supervised or implemented. This is the responsibility of the independent third party.
An agreement reached through restorative justice may be considered by a court, if all parties agree, and if the process takes place in advance of conviction or sentencing. Only the final agreement will be shared with the court, not the private discussions you have with the offender, unless you both agree to sharing these details. Alternatively, you may wish to participate in restorative justice once the court process has been completed and the sentence has been given or served.

The restorative justice process must only take place if it is in your interests and must also give consideration to your safety.

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