SCYJ has responded to the government’s consultation “Enhancing the Quality of Criminal Advocacy”. The consultation sets out plans “to preserve and enhance the quality of publicly funded criminal defence advocacy”. The Standing Committee for Youth Justice (SCYJ) applauds and fully supports this aim. However, we feel an important aspect has been overlooked: the quality of child defence advocacy. SCYJ believe this is an area of law where quality is too often lacking, to the point where trials are compromised. Youth defence law is distinct from adult criminal law, and child defendants have particular needs and vulnerabilities. All too often, these are not understood by advocates in youth proceedings. This should be addressed as a matter of urgency. SCYJ believes the best way to do this is to introduce specialist training and accreditation for advocates representing child defendants.
You can read our consultation response here.