Youth court advocacy

Keeping your knowledge of youth court law and processes up to date

This section explains how you can keep your knowledge of youth court law up to date.

The key points to remember about knowledge of youth court law and processes are:

  • Regularly review your knowledge to see if it is up to date
  • Address any learning and development needs you identify and keep a record.

Why is this essential?

Getting the best possible outcome for the young person or child you are working with is critical. Keeping your legal knowledge and knowledge of the statutory framework for dealing with young people and children up to date will help you do this.

A young person’s or child's experience of the way in which decisions are made can be as important as the sentence itself to their perception of the criminal justice system.

Young people and children who have been involved and understand why and how decisions have been made are more likely to comply with court orders, to perceive laws and legal institutions as legitimate, and to obey the law in the future.

How you can keep your knowledge up to date?

The following questions can help you identify whether you have any gaps in your legal knowledge about the youth court. You should address any gaps by undertaking learning and development.

  • Do you understand the key principles of the youth justice system? For example, the duty to have regard to the welfare of a child and prevention of re-offending?
  • Do you understand the range of adaptations available to enable a young person or child to participate in court hearings?
  • Do you understand legislation and the range of available approaches to divert young people away from the criminal justice system?
  • Do you understand policies applicable to those young people or children in care or with looked after status, including the ’ten point care plan’?
  • Do you understand protections available to victims of trafficking?
  • Do you understand youth interests of justice criteria and youth public interest criteria so you can make relevant representations to stop a young person entering the criminal justice system?
  • Do you understand the Mentally Disordered Defendant and Vulnerable Defendant policy and how this applies to children in the criminal justice system?
  • Do you understand key youth court case law, legislation and guidance concerning allocation of cases in the youth court and magistrates court?
  • Do you understand the relevant bail and remand legislative framework including remand to youth detention and local authority accommodation?
  • Do you understand the full range of available sentencing options and relevant guidance including Referral Order Guidance and Overarching Principles of Sentencing Youths?