At Lawtons Solicitors, we understand how daunting this experience can be for children, as well as stressful for the parents or carers. We appreciate a different approach from adults is needed at this time and we hand hold both our clients and their parents/carers through the Youth Court process.
We ensure that our young clients understand exactly what is going on and what they can expect in court. We use simple language that they can relate to, without being patronising.
If our client is happy for us to do so, we involve parents and carers every step of the way but always with confidentiality in mind.
What is the Youth Court?
The Youth Court is designed to be informal with a bias towards prevention rather than punishment for young people between the age of 10 and 17, who have been charged with a criminal offence. The Youth Court has no jury and the public are not allowed in.
For very serious crimes (such as murder) or those where the youth is charged together with an adult, they may need to go to a Crown Court.
Youth Court Proceedings
The young person must be accompanied by a parent or guardian at the Youth Court, together with their legal representation. The local youth offending team will also be present on the day.
The offence will be read out and the youth then gives his or her plea of guilty or not guilty, after which all evidence is heard.
If deemed guilty, a sentence is then given.
If found guilty or you have admitted guilt, then a sentence will be given which could be community service or a possible custodial sentence. To determine this a Pre-Sentence Report compiled by the youth offending team is considered.
Your sentence will be given on the day if this report is available and no further input is required, alternatively you may need to return to Youth Court at a later time to be given your sentence. Meantime you will be on remand and either kept in custody or permitted to return home on bail.
The sentence you are given can depend on multiple factors, including:
- Whether you pleaded ‘guilty’
- Seriousness of the offence
- Prior offences
- Remorse shown
- Mitigating circumstances
Circumstances, which may have led to you committing the crime are considered and these could include:
- Situation at home
- Events at school
- Problems concerning where you live
- Your health
The Youth Court and its laws differ considerably to laws pertaining to adults. Employing solicitors that understand these differences and have experience of the Youth court help you to achieve the fairest outcome. Our team of advocates and support staff have a wealth of experience in this specialist area.
Lawtons Solicitors knows the impact a criminal record can have on a youth and the damaging consequences. First and foremost our objective is to prevent the youth from being charged with a criminal offence.