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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 9: After the democratic turn

Robyn Holder


Seeing through the eyes of citizen-victims revealed justice as a means of critical evaluation, a standard of assessment, an inclusive structure, as a communal construct, and as an improbable horizon. The concluding chapter summarizes the core findings of the Justice Study and the implications of amplifying voices ‘from below’. It argues for the capacity and the right of the citizen to speak frankly and with dignity to justice decision-makers, and acceptance that no one is all good or always innocent. The obligation on justice institutions to ensure conditions for the active participation of citizens in matters in which they have a direct stake are stressed not only because they should and must check their own power, but because prioritizing inclusion is a fundamental ideal of democratic citizenship and decision-making in a democratic society. Implications for theory, law and practice are outlined.

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