Legal Updates

Inns College produce guidance and film for barristers representing children in criminal courts

May 30, 2017

The Inns of Court College of Advocacy (ICCA) has produced new guidance for practitioners representing children in the youth justice system. The materials are intended to help barristers comply with the Bar Standards Board’s recently published ‘Youth Proceedings Competences’. Details The new ICCA guidance has been developed in collaboration with the Youth Justice Legal Centre, Just for

High court finds age assessment of a child by youth court ‘unlawful’

May 5, 2017

R (on the application of M) v Hammersmith Magistrates’ Court (2017), Divisional Court, Unreported

A youth court, who had deemed the claimant to be 18 for the purposes of criminal proceedings, had not made proper enquiries into the claimant’s age as is required by section 99 Children and Young Persons Act 1933. A visual asessment was not sufficient or appropriate.

Court of Appeal finds criminal record disclosure regime unlawful

May 3, 2017

R (on the application of P and Others) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2017] EWCA Civ 321 In a landmark Court of Appeal ruling, the Government lost its appeal to a decision of the High Court in January last year, which ruled that the criminal records disclosure scheme was disproportionate and unlawful.

Changes to Pre-Charge Bail at the Police Station

April 3, 2017

Changes to pre-charge bail came into force on the 3 April 2017. Pre-charge bail is now set at an initial 28 day limit, previously there had been no limit. These changes are part of a number of provisions being brought into force in stages by the Policing and Crime Act 2017 (PCA 2017) which received royal assent on the 31st January 2017.

Exploitation of children by ‘county lines’ gangs – children should be safeguarded not prosecuted

April 3, 2017

The National Crime Agency (NCA) has recently published a second report on the drug distribution model known as ‘county lines’ (County Lines Gang Violence, Exploitation & Drug Supply 2016 (November 2016)). ‘County Lines’ is a national issue which involves the exploitation of vulnerable young people and adults by violent gang members in order to move and sell drugs across the country. The gangs recruit vulnerable people, often children, to act as couriers and to sell drugs. The report identifies the exposure to harm children may face from these gangs and encourages authorities to safeguard rather than prosecute affected children.

New judicial guidance for use of video links for child defendants

March 31, 2017

The amended Criminal Practice Directions 2015 give guidance to the courts and users about how to effectively and appropriately make use of live links and telephone facilities. The new section 3N contains guidance on how and when live links should be used for hearings and provides specific guidance for defendants aged under 18.

The third amendment to the Criminal Practice Directions 2015 came into force on 31 January 2017.

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