Youth Court Solicitors

As experienced solicitors, we provide sensitive, expert legal advice and representation for minors facing a Youth Court appearance. 

MPR Solicitors practice in the niche areas of criminal defence law.  As a result, we are one of the most highly-respected Youth Court solicitors in London.  Being based in the capital, we have a vast experience in representing Youths from across the country.

To contact us regarding Youth Court proceedings, please call our office on 020 3824 8080 to make an appointment at our London office.

We understand the pressure young people and their families are under when facing a Youth Court proceedings.  With our experience and knowledge of the youth crime and the youth justice system, we provide families with the confidence of knowing they have the best people on their side.

We are also highly experienced in dealing with matters which are too serious to be tried in the Youth Court and are transferred to the Crown Court.

Recognising the needs of young offenders

We understand young people have needs and vulnerabilities which require a particular approach.  Unlike many criminal law firms, we have specially trained Youth Court lawyers on our team who understand the range of sentencing powers and procedures applicable to the Youth Court.

Our solicitors are particularly well trained in the sorts of offences that impact upon young people, such as drugs; weapons; violence and the ever increasing area of ‘sexting’. We are familiar with the issues surrounding gang culture and all types of youth crime.  We have represented youths charged with the full spectrum of offences from murder, robbery, knife crime, drugs (possession and supplying), kidnap and sexual offences (including rape).

Once instructed in a case, we work closely with the young person and their parents or guardian to meet their specific needs in presenting and defending the case at court.

We are also familiar with special and educational needs and work closely with professionals in those fields to ensure the necessary level of support they need is provided across all areas of their life.

If the case requires a barrister, then we will use a barrister from our approved list who will be familiar with working with young clients.

What is the age of criminal responsibility in England?

The age of criminal responsibility in England is ten years old.  This means that a child of this age can be arrested and charged with a crime.

Between the ages of 10 and 17 years, children who are charged with criminal offences are dealt with in the Youth Court. If a Youth appears charged with an offence with an Adult, then they will appear in the Magistrates’ Court with that Adult.

People aged 18 years and over are tried in the adult courts.  However, if a person between 18-25 years is found guilty and sentenced to prison, they will be sent to a place that holds 18 to 25-year-olds, not a full adult facility.

How is the Youth Court different from an adult court?

Youths are dealt with differently in the Magistrates’ Court. For instance, no person stands to address a Youth Court, and the court is closed to the public to ensure the anonymity of the young accused.

When sentencing a young offender, the courts must have regard to the prevention of offending by children and young people and the welfare of the child.

How does Youth Court sentencing work?

When sentencing in the Youth Court, the magistrate will take the following factors into account:

  • The offender’s age
  • The seriousness of the offence
  • Any aggravating or mitigating factors
  • Whether the offender pleaded guilty
  • Any relevant sentencing guidelines

The sentences that can be handed down by the Youth Court include:

  • Discharge - either absolute or conditional
  • Fine – for those under 16 years, the payment of the fine is the responsibility of the parent or guardian
  • Referral order - this requires the offender to attend a youth offender panel (made up of two members of the local community and an advisor from a youth offending team), and agree to a contract, containing certain commitments, which will last between three months and a year.  The aim is to get the young person to compensate for the harm they caused and reflect on the consequences of their actions.
  • Youth rehabilitation order - this is a community sentence which can include one or more of 18 different requirements that the offender must fulfil for up to three years.
  • Detention and Training Order (custody) – these are only imposed in the most serious cases and can be served in a children’s home, training centre and young offenders institution

Can a Youth Court send you to prison?

In extremely serious cases, the Youth Court can send a young person to prison.  Known as a Detention and Training Order (DTO), it can be given to offenders between 12 and 17 years.  The maximum sentence is 24 months.

If the young person is found guilty in the Crown Court of an offence that, if committed by an adult, carries a maximum prison sentence of 14 years or more, the young person may be sentenced under Section 90/91 of the Powers of the Criminal Court (Sentencing) Act 2000.

What happens in a Youth Court?

The procedure in the Youth Court is like that in any other court.  The difference is the magistrate will be specially trained in dealing with young people.  As with adult offenders, children and young people appearing before the Youth Court can be bailed or held on remand.  Our youth criminal lawyers can help young people apply for bail.

Let us assist your family in youth offending matters

Our legal team can provide experienced, empathetic legal advice and representation to young people and their families who are dealing with a youth offending matter.  We are always available to answer any questions and put the welfare of the child at the forefront of everything we do.

If you are appearing before the Youth Court, please call us immediately on 020 3824 8080 or fill in our contact form to get in touch.