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Turning 18 and the youth jurisdiction

MA in the media

13 August 2021
Turning 18 and the youth jurisdiction

Our national chair, Bev Higgs, has had an article published in the Law Society Gazette on the issue of young people who turn 18 before their case comes to court and so appear in the adult court, rather than the youth court.

In the article Bev argues that young people should not be penalised for delays in the court system but should instead receive the help and support appropriate to their young age to help turn their lives around. She explains the different focuses of adult and youth court, with the latter offering more specialised support that prioritises the young person’s welfare and services aimed at reducing youth offending.

Members will be aware that after an overwhelming vote on the issue at our AGM in 2020, it is now an MA policy priority to campaign for this cohort to have their cases heard in the youth court. Rob Butler MP introduced a 10 Minute Rule Bill on the issues earlier this year, and the MA is calling for this issue to become a governmental policy priority.

Bev concludes the article with the statement: ‘Most young people, if given the support and opportunities to change their behaviour, do just that. If they remain in the youth jurisdiction, these young people will still have the chance to access youth diversion schemes intended to provide support to reduce offending. It is our duty as a justice system, and as a society, to give them this chance.’

Read the article here.

Read the MA’s position statement on the issue here.

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