Just Interests


Just Interests

Victims, Citizens and the Potential for Justice

9781786434029 Edward Elgar Publishing
Robyn Holder, Griffith University, Australia
Publication Date: 2018 ISBN: 978 1 78643 402 9 Extent: 288 pp
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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The idea of justice and the reality of justice are two very different things. Just Interests examines both concepts, offering accounts from lay people and legal officials to explore how the goals and interests of victims of crimes can be accommodated within the criminal justice process.

Robyn Holder challenges the typical classification of ‘victim’ for those who have been victimized by violence, and re-positions them as members of a political community with diverse interests – both private and public. Departing from conventional approaches that see victims as a problem for law to contain, Holder draws on democratic principles of inclusion and deliberation to posit a criminal justice approach that mobilizes citizens to produce justice in their ordinary lives.

This book will be of fundamental importance for analysts and advocates in governmental and non-governmental organizations to understand victims as citizens first and their engagements with criminal justice as citizenship practices. It will also be a valuable read for socio-legal scholars and researchers examining the constitutive nature of peoples and their public criminal law.
Critical Acclaim
‘This is a challenging critique of the contemporary criminal justice system. The author’s voice is worthy of being listened to as her experience as an advocate for victims is extensive and there is clearly scope for recalibration and improvement of the experience of victims with the justice system.’
– Ian Freckelton QC, Law Institute Journal

‘This is an excellent, considered and thought-provoking book that offers rich insights into complex conceptions of justice from ordinary citizens. The author devises and executes original research and communicates the background, significance, intellectual context and findings with great facility. The research is deeply textured, presenting thoughtfully analysed data and interesting findings that contribute to a conversation about the multi-faceted meaning of justice. Just Interests makes a welcome, significant and unique contribution to our understandings of what justice might mean. I enjoyed reading this book and believe it would be of interest to criminologists and socio-legal scholars, government and non-government stakeholders and advocates, and higher degree research students.’
– Mary Iliadis, Australian and New Zealand Journal of

‘Holder argues that it is important to provide the victim with an opportunity to exercise voice and to seek to influence the process, but not necessarily to control it. This important book charts a course towards crafting solutions that accord the victim a direct and dignified role in the process, and remain faithful to the rule of law. It deserves the attention of criminal justice professionals, victims and their advocates, and scholars alike.’
– Peter Grabosky, Criminal Law and Criminal Justice Books

‘Robyn Holder is a reflective practitioner and thoughtful scholar of victim perspectives on what justice might mean. This impressive book brings together years of her consolidated wisdom. It treats us to rich engagement with complex realisations of justice. Empirically, it amplifies voices from below to help us learn from their experience on how to better comprehend the complexity of justice. It helps us to find our own justice imaginary as we also search for a democratic imaginary.’
– John Braithwaite, Australian National University

‘This book constitutes a significant and highly insightful contribution into deconstructing the meaning of justice. In positioning crime victims as a community of citizens who hold legitimate justice interests, the author’s arguments are a welcome riposte to a needs-based analysis of the issues which confront victims in the criminal process.’
– Jonathan Doak, Nottingham Trent University, UK
Contents: Preface 1. Ideas of justice 2. Approaching justice 3. Approaching law 4. Mapping institutional discourse about justice 5. Ordinary people accessing justice 6. Exploring justice goals 7. Experiencing justice 8. Participating in justice 9. After the democratic turn Bibliography Index

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