SCYJ responds to MoJ consultation: Preserving and Enhancing the Quality of Criminal Advocacy

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 find a link to our consultation response below.

SCYJ guidance to YOTs on anonymity for children in trouble with the law

Today the SCYJ has launched its new resources for Youth Offending Teams (YOTs) on anonymity for children in trouble with the law, to help ensure the YOTs views are heard in court. The resources can be downloaded below.

Our short guide sets out four steps YOTs can take to ensure their views are taken into account by the court. These steps are summarised in an easy-to-follow flow chart, while a separate flow chart helps YOTs to ascertain whether reporting restrictions apply automatically in any given case, and when an application must be made.

All of these resources are free to download and print but YOTs can be sent a hardcopy free of charge. Please contact if your YOT would like a free copy.

SCYJ briefing on children and custodial sentences for a second knife offence

The SCYJ has published a briefing for YOTs on how children are affected by the new law on custodial sentences for second convictions for knife offences.

This short briefing explains exactly what the new law says, including the discretion it gives courts not to apply a custodial sentence to children. It goes on to explain what the new law means in practice, including what YOTs may want to include in their pre-sentence reports to inform the court’s decision on whether to pass a custodial sentence when a child is convicted of a second knife offence.