Youth Courts deal with nearly all cases where young people between the ages of 10 and 17 inclusive are said to have broken the law. This page tells you about the Youth Courts, and shows how they deal with offenders. It is for information only and should not be regarded as a full statement of law.
Going to Court
There are two ways in which you may be brought before the Youth Court:
Usually you will get a written summons from the court. This will be posted to you or handed to you personally. The summons tells you what offences you have been charged with and gives the day and time that you have to be at court and the address of the court building.
The police may take you into custody. They will usually then release you on bail, sometimes with conditions, until the court hearing. Details of the court hearing will be on your bail notice. Details of the offences with which you have been charged will be shown on your charge sheet.
It is advisable to get to Court half an hour before the time you have been given. When you arrive, tell the usher (who will usually be wearing a black gown) that you are there.
At least one of your parents (or guardians) must come to court with you, if you are 17 years of age this is not compulsory, but still advisable. If no one attends with you, the case may be put off (adjourned) to another day.
Seeing a solicitor
Consider getting a solicitor to speak for you in court. You may qualify for free legal advice.
Your parents or friends may suggest a solicitor, or you can see the Duty Solicitor at court. Don't be shy about contacting a solicitor; it is their job to deal with such matters. Make sure that you show the solicitor any charge / summons papers.