Professor Acorn Speaks at Harvard Law School

Professor Acorn speaks on restorative justice

04 March 2015

Professor Annalise Acorn, who is presently a Visiting Fellow at All Souls College, Oxford, spoke this past weekend at Harvard Law School. She was participating in a symposium entitled: Restorative Justice: Theory Meets Practice presented by the Harvard Negotiation Law Review. Professor Acorn's remarks focused first on restorative justice as a theory of justice distinct from Aristotelian notions of corrective justice and distributive justice, the restorative justice aspiration to transcend the idea of retributive justice, to reconfigure the relation between procedural and substantive justice and to reintroduce an Aristotelian idea of justice as virtue into a process of justice understood in terms of right relation. Drawing on the theoretical framework presented in her book Compulsory Compassion: a critique of restorative justice, (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2004) Professor Acorn addressed the recent controversy in Canada surrounding Dalhousie University's decision to deal with the misogynist facebook postings by male dental students through a restorative justice process. Professor Acorn explained why she was critical of the decision and why she found arguments suggesting that restorative justice was the best way to address larger systemic issues of misogyny in the university culture unpersuasive.

Other speakers at the symposium included Dean of Harvard Law School, Professor Martha Minow, as well as Massachusetts State Senator James Eldridge, Hon. Justice Janine Geske and Dr. Carl Stauffer Co-Director of the Zehr Institute of Restorative Justice.