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Just Interests

Victims, Citizens and the Potential for Justice

Robyn Holder

Just Interests: Victims, Citizens and the Potential for Justice contributes to extended conversations about the idea of justice – who has it, who doesn’t and what it means in the everyday setting of criminal justice. It challenges the usual representation of people victimized by violence only as victims, and re-positions them as members of a political community. Departing from conventional approaches that see victims as a problem for law to contain, Robyn Holder draws on democratic principles of inclusion and deliberation to argue for the unique opportunity of criminal justice to enlist the capacity of citizens to rise to the demands of justice in their ordinary lives.
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Chapter 4: Mapping institutional discourse about justice

Robyn Holder

Extract

This chapter explores institutional and legal orientations to the victim in criminal justice, and to the idea of justice itself through the office of the public prosecutor. The discussion looks back to identify some key conceptual transitions in the evolution of criminal law and justice, pauses on present-day realities, and looks forward to touch on future possibilities. Lay people and professionals in the Justice Study are thus situated in a specific socio-historical context. Interviews with Australian and English prosecutors are analysed as a single narrative to outline core organizing concepts in criminal justice. The concepts are routinized in a manner that emphasizes prosecution benevolence and universality while hiding the power they exercise through discretionary decision-making.

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