Tuesday 7 March 2017

Youth Justice Developments

Report December 2016:

In December 2016 a "final report" on Youth Justice was published - Review of the Youth Justice System in England and Wales (Cm 9298).  The report contains numerous recommendations (Annex A) but perhaps paragraph 179 of the report offers a succinct summary: "

Our aim should be to create a 21st century system that moves away from justice with some welfare, to a welfare system with justice."

The Martin Partington blog has also looked at the report.

The Sentencing Council has issued new guidelines relating to sentencing of children and young people - Definitive guidelines on sentencing children and young people and reduction in sentence for a guilty please published

The new guidance comes into effect on 1st June 2017.

The guidelines are not intended to make significant changes to the length of sentences being given to young people. They will, however, look with far greater detail at the age, background and circumstances of each child or young person, while meeting the legal requirement to consider their welfare. The aim is to reach the most appropriate sentence that will best achieve the goal of preventing reoffending, which is the main function of the youth justice system. They also bring guidance up to date to cover changes to legislation such as the rules for allocation of cases to different courts.

Age of criminal responsibility:

This remains set at 10 years of age for England and Wales.   In modern times this is regarded by many as being unnecessarily low.  For a look at this age more widely see here.  For the Scottish position see here.

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