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Wednesday, 03 March 2021 14:10

Youth court

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The youth courts have the same issues as the magistrates’ courts, but magnified,’ says criminal defence barrister Kirsty Day. ‘We’re not talking Wild West, but Wild Wild West.’

While numbers of child prosecutions have fallen by three quarters over the past decade, a 2020 review by the National Association for Youth Justice (NAYJ) found youth courts – a type of magistrates’ court for children aged 10-17 – were overburdened, with defendants facing huge delays predating the pandemic. Delays are particularly serious for youths, who are likely to face trial and sentencing as adults once they turn 18.

Around the same time as the NAYJ report, the Commons Justice Select Committee highlighted a host of problems with the youth justice system, including inflexible sentencing options and racial disproportionality.

Compounding these systemic issues is a lackadaisical approach to correct legal process in the youth courts, some lawyers allege. ‘The public would be shocked if they could see what goes on,’ Day observes.

She says she went into the job thinking it would be all about law. Instead, she tells the Gazette, ‘a lot of the time I’m fighting to get people to follow procedure’.

For full article https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/analysis/youth-must-be-served/5107553.article?utm_source=gazette_newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Lammy%27s+legal+aid+warning+%7c+Solicitor+fined+for+fly-tipping+%7c+Rozenberg_03%2f01%2f2021

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