Blackfords LLP

Youth crime & youth courts

Arrest and Police Interview

Anyone under the aged 17 or under is referred to as being a youth for the purposes of the criminal justice system.

If your child is arrested or asked to attend a police station as a volunteer, they have the right to speak to an independent solicitor free of charge. We strongly recommend that you insist they receive such legal advice.

Usually, a parent or guardian also has to attend the police station to act as appropriate adult. In some circumstances, volunteer appropriate adults may be asked to assist. The appropriate adult has the overriding right to request that legal advice is sought on behalf of the youth, even where they may have previously decided that they do not want a lawyer.

Our specialist lawyers are vastly experienced at dealing with youths, both at the police station and the Youth Courts.

There are a number of ways that matters which the police are investigating may be disposed of without your child having to go to court. The chances of securing one of these outcomes is significantly increased if your son or daughter is represented by a solicitor.

The Youth Court

The Youth Court is really a branch of the Magistrates’ Court; usually it sits in the same building as the adult court, although it might have a separate entrance so that youths and adult defendants do not have to mix. Youth court hearings are held in private with only the defendant, their parents or guardians and professionals present.

You are advised to retain the services of a lawyer to advise you on the offence that your child is charged with, what the strength of the evidence against them is and whether they should plead guilty or not guilty. Being convicted of any offence as a youth may have serious consequences for the future or your child in terms of their current education, university aspirations and career choices. It is important therefore to obtain legal advice.

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