Chris Marshall

  • Diana Unwin Chair in Restorative Justice in the School of Government, at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand


Chris Marshall is Emeritus Professor of Restorative Practice at Te Herenga Waka/Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. Before his retirement, he held the Diana Unwin Chair in Restorative Justice in the University's  School of Government from 2014-20. Prior to that he was the St John’s Professor of Christian Theology in the Religious Studies Programme. Dr Marshall is author of seven books and  multiple articles, book chapters, reference work entries and research reports, and has been widely used as a conference speaker and lecturer in over a dozen countries around the world. He has won several awards for his teaching and for his public engagement on social issues, and has also written on human rights, religious violence and Christian non-violence. His most important work lies at the intersection between theological ethics and criminal justice theory and practice. He characterises his distinctive methodology as one of setting up a “dialogue” between biblical teaching on law, crime, justice, violence and punishment on the one hand, and the insights of restorative justice theory, legal philosophy and the social sciences on the other. His book Beyond Retribution (Eerdmans, 2001) seeks to construct a moral, theological and biblical basis for restorative justice practice, as well as to critique the dominant notion of retributive justice. His 2012 book, Compassionate Justice: An Interdisciplinary Dialogue (Cascade, 2012) uses Jesus’ two most famous parables – the Good Samaritan and the Prodigal Son – as a serious resource for undertaking theoretical, practical and even institutional reflection on the meaning of justice. His latest book All Things Reconciled (Cascade 2018) brings together nine essays that deal with issues of perennial relevance to anyone interested in exploring the mandate for Christian social engagement in peace and justice issues.

Academic biography

Research topics

Now in retirement, I continue to work on innovative applications of restorative justice theory and practice for addressing social harms and promoting the common good across the full range of institutional life, including life in the church. Restorative justice refers to a relational way of responding to wrongdoing, conflict or injustice that seeks, above all else, to repair the harm suffered, and to do so, where possible, by actively involving the affected parties in facilitated dialogue and decision-making about their needs and obligations and about how to bring about positive changes for all involved. Emerging in the criminal justice arena in the early 1970s, the principles and practices of restorative justice have since migrated into many other spheres of social life, offering productive new ways of responding to relational harm and building inclusive and democratic communities.

Contributions to

Virtues / Social Sciences (Preview Response)
Discipline(s): Social Sciences
Theology: Virtues

Flourishing / Social Sciences (Preview Response)
Discipline(s): Social Sciences
Theology: Flourishing

Justice / Social Sciences (Preview Response)
Discipline(s): Social Sciences
Theology: Justice

Restorative Justice (Disciplinary Brief)
Discipline(s): Social Sciences
Theology: Justice