The Return of “Captain Moonlight” – Informal Justice in Northern Ireland

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In the working-class areas of Northern Ireland alternative forms of justice operating in parallel to the State’s criminal justice system exist. This informal criminal justices system, administered by paramilitaries, includes threats, warnings, beatings, shootings,and executions. Informal justice mechanisms emerged in the early days of “the Troubles” and have continued to develop. This article maps the development of informal justice in both republican and loyalist areas of Northern Ireland and examines the ways in which paramilitaries “police” their communities and mete out “punishments.”
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-56
Number of pages16
JournalStudies in Conflict and Terrorism
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Northern Ireland
  • informal justice
  • vigilantism
  • paramilitaries


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