Restorative justice has emerged as an alternative to the problems and side effects of the traditional criminal justice system and has been the driving force of criminal justice reform around the world for over 40 years.
The process of restorative justice involve a variety of people including victims of crime, perpetrators, their respective families, mediators or facilitators, community members, police, prosecutors, lawyers, judges and officials of correctional services. The scope and role of the participants in the process depend on the specific situation in which the restorative justice program is implemented and on the specific model of restorative justice. But, all participants should play a role in planning new restorative programs, or in augmenting or strengthening restorative justice elements.
The purpose of this study is to discuss the position and role of lawyers in the implementation of restorative justice, which is not covered in previous studies. In this study, first, the potential risks and problems inherent in restorative justice practices were discussed and the relevant necessity of lawyers was examined. Next, we talked about when lawyers should intervene and what role they should play in the implementation of restorative justice programs. Finally, we discussed the extent to which the lawyers' participation would be acknowledged in relation to the implementation of the south korean restorative justice systems, and discussed how to institutionalize lawyers’ participation.
As a result, the role of lawyers in resolving the potential risks of restorative justice, ie, the risks associated with the victim, the problems of process lacking formalism, and the problem of power balance, can be said to be large. With regard to the manner of lawyers’ intervention, they should not be involved in the restorative process as representatives of the parties in stake. Instead, they should participate as an assistant or observer who consult the parties on the legal side. With respect to the timing of their intervention, the lawyers does not have to be present throughout the restorative process, but rather should be done before and after the restorative meeting between the parties. In regard to such involvement of lawyers in restorative justice process, there is no need to legislate the role of lawyers in South Korea. In stead of legislation, the qualification of lawyers and their intervention timing in restorative justice process should be discussed .in the practical level