This site will give you everything you need to know about the practice and procedures of the Youth Court. We will also provide you with direct links to a number of very helpful related topics and other sites.
The Youth Court is a division of our District Court. It is presided over by a District Court Judge who has been selected to hold a Youth Court Warrant and has special training in youth issues.
The Youth Court sits on regular occasions. It is not open to the public but parents and members of the immediate family can attend with the permission of the Judge.
You may represent yourself in the Youth Court or use the assistance of a privately instructed lawyer.
However, the State provides lawyers who are known as Youth Advocates and their service is therefore free.
They are trained as Youth Court advocates and are there to represent the interests of the youth who is appearing before the Court.
There is some criticism that the Youth Advocate system is a little too cosy because there are only two or three lawyers in the average town who are part of the system and it is sometimes thought that they represent the "system" first rather than standing up for the rights of the young person.
However, the criticism does not have much validity at all. The danger arises when the Youth Advocate might become judgemental and consider that the wishes of the child are not as important as the "interests" of the child.
It is always a fine line to walk but an adult, in the adult court, would not stand for a lawyer being judgemental but would want that lawyer to follow his or her instructions to the letter.
The Youth Court is set up under the provisions of the Children, Young Persons, and their Families Act 1989.
It is a very long Act made up of 469 specific sections and there were also amendments to the Act in 1989, 1994, 1996, 1998 and 2001. You may access the entire Act via our direct link below :
Children Young Persons And Their Families Act 1989
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