What is the doctrine of restitution?
Restitution is a concept that is used in our criminal justice system. Restitution means that the offending party needs to pay for various costs that the victim has experienced as a result of the actions of the offender. The offender may be required to reimburse the victim for costs associated with physical therapy, lost wages, medications, counseling, and medical expenses. Restitution is something that is ordered by a court as a result of a conviction of the offender. Depending on the offender’s ability to pay, either full or partial restitution may be ordered by the court. As a result, it may take a long time for the victim to collect restitution from the offender. Sometimes, the victim never collects the restitution that is due.
The difference between compensation and restitution is that compensation is a state program where the victim is compensated for various expenses as a result of a crime, even if there is no arrest or conviction of an offender. There usually is a certain time frame that a person must meet in order to be able to file for compensation.
In legal terms, restitution simply means providing some sort of compensation to an aggrieved party. It can be applied in civil law, or torts litigation, or in criminal cases. In civil law, a defendant may be required to pay for damages done due to negligence, or to compensate someone for the value of an item, house, work not accomplished under contract, or to compensate financially for other grievances. In criminal cases, a defendant found guilty might be allowed to perform community service as a punishment for a crime they committed. In international law, restitution might take the form of reparations for war guilt, as Germany was forced to pay by the Treaty of Versailles.