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What happens if I go to court?

This short film by the Youth Justice Legal Centre explains what to expect if you have to go to the youth court.

A youth court is a special type of magistrates’ court for people aged between 10 and 17. It has either three magistrates or a district judge. There isn’t a jury in a youth court, and the young person’s parent or guardian must come with them if they are under 16 or if they are 16 or 17 and the court orders them to come.

Youth courts are slightly different to adult courts, for example:

  • Members of the public are not allowed in to the court (unless they get permission).
  • You are called by your first name.
  • There are restrictions on what the press can report in newspapers or other media.

For serious crimes, such as murder or rape, the case will start in a youth court but will be passed to a crown court.

The court can give a range of sentences including:

Young people can be made subject to bail conditions until the next hearing if the case is not dealt with on the day. These can include court bail conditions and, in exceptional cases, a remand to local authority accommodation or to custody.

If a young person fails to attend court, a warrant can be issued for their arrest. This means that the police will arrest the young person and hold them in the police station until a court can deal with their case. At weekends this could mean being held overnight.

If you disagree with the court’s verdict, you may be able to appeal. Court staff can give you information on how to appeal.