Youth court

The Youth Court is a type of magistrates’ court that deals with young people aged 10 to 17

How is the Youth Court different from the adult court?

The Youth Court differs from adult criminal proceedings in several ways:

  • Proceedings are less formal
  • Cases are heard by youth magistrates who have been specially trained to sit in this court and to work with young people
  • The magistrates will directly engage with the child or young person, and ensure they are understanding what is happening
  • A young person involved in proceedings must be accompanied by a parent or guardian if under 16, or if they are instructed to by the court
  • The public are not permitted to enter the court
  • Reporting restrictions ban the publication of pictures or other details which would identify any young person involved in proceedings. This includes their name, home address or school
  • Instead of the National Probation Service, a member of the Youth Offending Team will be present to talk to the child or young person, and present appropriate sentencing options to the bench


What cases does the Youth Court deal with?

The Youth Court deals with a range of cases including:

  • Anti-social behaviour
  • Drugs offences
  • Knife crime
  • Theft and burglary


Almost all cases involving children and young people are dealt with in Youth Court, although the most serious offences such as murder or rape will be sent to the Crown Court.

What sentences can a youth court give?

When sentencing young people, the primary aims are to support the welfare and rehabilitation of the young person. Sentencers follow sentencing guidelines written specifically for those under the age of 18:  Sentencing Children and Young People: Overarching Principles

A Youth Court can order a range of sentences including:


Young people can also be bailed to appear later, or remanded into custody.

The MA has its own dedicated Youth Court Committee with members who are experienced specialists in the area.

If you have more questions about the Youth Court, please visit our FAQs and Resources where you will find more information.