The Youth Justice Legal Centre is part of Just for Kids Law.
R v Grant-Murray and Henry; R v McGill, Hewitt and Hewitt  EWCA 1228
Five defendants, in two joined applications to appeal, challenged their convictions for joint enterprise murder. The appeals also raised issues as to how young or vulnerable defendants are dealt with by the court. Whilst the applications to appeal were all dismissed, the court made important comments on the training of practitioners representing children and vulnerable defendants in the criminal courts.
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’.
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.
The Youth Justice Legal Centre (YJLC) has published a lawyer’s guide to the use of intermediaries for child defendants.
The Criminal Bar Association (CBA) has expressed concern about the amendments to the Criminal Practice Direction in relation to intermediaries. It has requested practitioners to share their experience of defendants who have been badly disadvantaged by the Court’s failure to appoint an intermediary.
The amended Criminal Practice Directions 2015 (in force on 4 April 2016) contains a revised practice direction on the appointment and use of intermediaries during criminal trials. The new practice direction has attracted criticism because it suggests intermediaries for defendants will be ‘rare’.
On 13th January 2016 the Law Commission published a report into unfitness to plead following a consultation. The report makes recommendations for reform of the whole unfitness to plead framework, and makes specific recommendations in relation to children and young people.
This research by the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies highlights the high proportion of children in the criminal justice system with brain injuries and impairments. The report calls for health, education and family based interventions to prevent the unecessary criminalisation of children with neurodevelopmental impairment.
R (on the application of TP) v Derby Youth Court  EWHC 573 (Admin)
A youth court wrongly committed a 13-year-old offender who had been found unfit to plead to the Crown Court for trial.
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