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Youth Courts and Sentencing Ten-Minute Rule Bill

New Bill relating to MA policy priority


12 March 2021
Youth Courts and Sentencing Ten-Minute Rule Bill

Ten Minute Rule Bill has been introduced in the House of Commons by Rob Butler MP, a member of the Justice Select Committee who sat as an adult and youth magistrate prior to his election to Parliament. The Youth Courts and Sentencing Bill aims ‘to provide that persons charged with a criminal offence having been aged under 18 at the time of the alleged offence are subject to the jurisdiction of the youth court and to youth sentencing provisions.’

This issue has been a priority for the MA’s Youth Court Committee for some time, and in October 2020 the YCC proposed an AGM motion which stated that ‘if an offence is committed before a young person’s eighteenth birthday, their case should be dealt with in youth court, even if they turn 18 before it gets to court.’ This passed with an overwhelming majority of 96%, and was cited in Rob Butler’s speech before the House. This Bill has cross-party support from a number of MPs, including Sir Robert Neill, Chair of the Justice Select Committee.

In his speech on 23 February 2021, Rob Butler set out why this change is needed, highlighting that delays in the system are often the reason for children facing an adult court for offences allegedly committed before the age of 18:

 ‘… in our current system there is a postcode lottery as to whether someone is treated as a child or an adult, as different police forces and different courts can take widely varying times investigating or listing cases. Two 17-year-olds with exactly the same birthday could commit exactly the same crime, on exactly the same day, in different parts of the country, but find themselves treated entirely differently according to how quickly their case comes to court.’

You can read the MA’s position statement on this issue here.

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