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What is restorative justice?

View profile for Colin Rawson
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Can a criminal conviction whilst under the age of 18 affect future job prospects or higher education?

For an individual in full time employment or an individual training towards their chosen career, any criminal conviction or caution could have serious implications on their ability to work or study. It will always be a daunting experience for someone to be questioned by the police over a criminal offence. What people may not realise at that time, is what impact a criminal investigation/conviction may have on their career.

Many employers require a DBS check. The disclosure and barring service is a non-departmental public body of the Home Office in the United Kingdom. The main aim of a DBS check is to assist an employer in making safer recruitment decisions. A criminal conviction or caution is likely to appear on an individual’s DBS check and may affect an individual’s current employment or any future job applications.

Restorative justice is a scheme of the criminal justice system that focuses on the rehabilitation of offenders through reconciliation with their victims. The restorative justice allows a victim to meet or communicate with an offender and explain the impact the offence has had on them. It also provides an opportunity for the offender to apologise to their victim for their actions. If successful then this process can avoid the incident being recorded as a police caution or criminal conviction.

During an investigation, the police may suggest to a suspect that restorative justice could be used as way of dealing with the allegation. It is imperative that legal advice is sought prior to your agreement to restorative justice to ensure that correct procedures are being followed by the police. Even after you have been interviewed under caution by the police, you should still obtain legal advice from a specialist criminal solicitor as it’s possible that they can speak to the police and argue for restorative justice to be used to deal with the case, before any final decision are made. 

Our criminal defence team have been defending suspects in criminal investigations every single day for over 40 years and are ranked as tier one for criminal defence by the Legal 500. Our primary aim is to ensure the best possible outcome in the circumstances for any client facing criminal investigations, and we use all our legal and tactical experience to do so.

In one of our recent cases, for example, we were instructed by a qualified nurse facing an allegation for a public order offence. We represented the nurse for a fixed fee, advised him on what the options and best outcome was, liaised with the investigating police officer to argue that restorative justice was an appropriate resolution to the case and then guided our client through the process to ensure that this was successfully achieved, avoiding a police caution and conviction. Had our client received a caution or conviction then he would have had a criminal record which may have resulted in disciplinary proceedings before his professional regulator, the Nursing and Midwifery Council, with the risk of her being struck off. Our involvement in the criminal investigation avoided this.  

If the police have been in contact due to an allegation being made against you please do not hesitate to contact Faye Dutson in the criminal defence and appeals team on 01616 966 229.