Making sense of the victim’s role in clemency decision making

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journal

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-28
Journal / PublicationInternational Review of Victimology
Issue number1
Online published9 Nov 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020


This article discusses victim engagement with the executive clemency process from a normative perspective. The authors’ aim is to explore the existing models of victim participation in clemency decision making in common law jurisdictions, in order to determine whether these possess any sound theoretical basis. The article brings together the academic literatures on victim participation and clemency functionality in order to ground the analysis. In brief, the authors' main finding is that victim involvement in clemency decision making can indeed be supported by the theoretical literature, albeit to a more limited extent than is currently practised in some common law jurisdictions. In light of the theoretical underpinnings of clemency in democratic societies and the literature on victim participation, the authors conclude by making several ‘best practice’ recommendations for future policy-making.

Research Area(s)

  • clemency, commutation, pardon, participation, procedural rights, substantive rights, Victims