Restorative Justice (RJ) has become an increasingly popular alternative to more traditional punishment methods in the last two decades within the Criminal Justice system in England and Wales; often in respect of youth justice and minor crimes which have a clearly defined victim. However, this article will explore the use of restorative justice in cases of financial fraud. Such cases can be particularly complex when identifying culpability within an organisation, and also victims, who may not be aware that they are victims. Corporate and public apologies are not unheard of, particularly with the increasing use of social media platforms, but they have not been widely discussed in relation to RJ. As there is a recognition that RJ entails more than a simple apology, innovative ways of administering RJ will be considered. Alongside discussion of the complexities of using RJ for large-scale financial fraud, the paper will draw on various cases of fraud and the resultant public apology from the early 18th century onward. Several forms of what we now term RJ will be illustrated from before the modern-day resurgence of this type of justice. In most (though not all) of the several examples discussed, there is a clear separation of RJ practices from the formal criminal justice system operating at the time, and this may prove to be a useful guide to the future use of RJ as an adjunct to more legalistic criminal justice processes. Finally, it will be considered whether such apologies could be useful as a restorative intersection with the criminal justice system.
Restorative justice; fraud; history; apology; printed apology