Restorative justice leader

Through her work and research in restorative justice, Jennifer Llewellyn, Yogis and Keddy Chair in Human Rights Law at Schulich School of Law has led transformations in criminal justice reforms, human rights protection, discipline processes in workplaces and schools and more.

“Restorative justice is about repairing or addressing the harm caused to social relationships when wrongdoing happens,” she says. Prof. Llewellyn recently won a 2018 Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Impact Award in the Connection category.

FOUNDATION: Early in her career, Prof. Llewellyn established the Nova Scotia Restorative Justice Community University Research Alliance, which led to the establishment of a collaborative network supporting local alliances around the world and to fair, just and meaningful restorative justice processes and outcomes in Canada and other countries.

INSPIRATION: While in law school, Prof. Llewellyn worked with South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. “I was confronted with a core breakdown of how we treat one another and how we could do better in order to have a more just future.”

WHY IT MATTERS: Restorative justice processes offer more satisfying experiences and results for victims, offenders, their supports and communities than traditional adversarial approaches. In Nova Scotia’s Restorative Approach in Schools project, for example, student suspension rates dropped and attendance and achievement rates improved. “It is not just about what happens in the office or even the classroom,” says Prof. Llewellyn. “A restorative approach is also for the playground, the bus and at home. There are many webs of intersecting relationships.”

“My work is a vocation. It’s encouraging to see the difference that restorative justice makes in people’s lives—what’s possible that wasn’t possible before.”