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About Us

The Youth Justice Legal Centre (YJLC) has been set up by the charity Just for Kids Law to provide much-needed legally accurate information, guidance and training on youth justice law.

What we do
Information for lawyers
Information for professionals
Information for children and young people
Acknowledgements
Who we are
Advisory board

What we do

YJLC is a centre of excellence on youth justice law, providing:

  • Guidance and expertise on youth justice law to safeguard children’s rights in the youth justice system;
  • A dedicated website with comprehensive information, legal resources and best practice guides for lawyers, judges, magistrates, youth offending teams, professionals, children and families;
  • Training on youth justice issues for lawyers and non legal professionals working with children;
  • Free specialist legal advice for children, their families, youth offending teams, the judiciary and lawyers.

For lawyers

YJLC is an invaluable tool for the legal profession, providing quick and easy access to a comprehensive overview of youth justice law.

YJLC provides legal overviews, specialist training, a discussion forum and expert advice for barristers, solicitors and legal executives representing children in the youth justice system. We want to support a community of youth justice advocates and share good practice and expertise.

For professionals

YJLC is a comprehensive legal resource for professionals working in youth justice. The law relating to children in the youth justice system is complex, which is why it is now recognised as a specialism amongst criminal practitioners. YJLC will help professionals to provide the best support to children in the criminal justice system.

For children and young people

We know the criminal justice system can be scary, frightening and intimidating. We want to provide children and young people in the criminal justice system with more information about what is happening to them so they are able to better understand and participate in criminal proceedings.

YJLC is producing a serious of animated videos to give young people (and those supporting them) information so they know what to expect and understand what will happen if they find themselves in the criminal justice system.

Acknowledgements

We are grateful to the many volunteers who have helped develop the content for the website.

In particular, we would like to thank Jessie Brennan, Eleanor Davidson, Thomas Horton, Amy Ling, Merry Neal, Aimee Riese,  Alex Torrance, Daniella Waddoup, Rebecca Wheeker.

    Who we are

    Laura Cooper

    Laura Cooper

    Co-Head of the Youth Justice Legal Centre

    Laura is a specialist youth justice lawyer who has been at the Youth Justice Legal Centre since 2015, becoming co-head in 2019. She has practised as a solicitor advocate since 2011, and has experience of representing children at the police station, youth court and Crown Court.

    Laura oversees the YJLC national advice line for lawyers, YOTs, families, children, and other professionals which provides accurate and expert knowledge on youth justice law and practice. Laura regularly presents at events on youth justice issues, feeds into the broader youth justice policy work of the charity, and writes legal updates and best practice legal guides for the YJLC website. Laura wrote the latest State of Children’s Rights Report for Children’s Rights Alliance for England on children and policing.

    Laura previously worked for a criminal defence firm in London where she focused on representing children. She has volunteered for Reprieve in Houston, Texas, and at the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva.

    Katya Moran

    Katya Moran

    Co-Head of the Youth Justice Legal Centre

    Katya is a specialist youth justice lawyer with 12 years’ experience representing children in criminal proceedings. Having spent many years working for legal aid firms as a duty solicitor, she maintains a busy independent practice representing children in the police station and in the youth court. Having worked with Just for Kids Law when they were first getting started in 2005, she was thrilled to return in 2017 and to become co-head of the Youth Justice Legal Centre in 2019. Katya oversees the development of YJLC’s interactive legal training programme, writes best practice legal guides on youth justice issues and regularly delivers lectures and training on youth justice.

    Augusta Itua

    Augusta Itua

    Youth Justice Lawyer

    Augusta joined the Youth Justice Legal Centre (YJLC) in January 2020 as a Youth Justice Lawyer and Policy Officer, working to provide legally accurate information and guidance on youth justice law through YJLC’s national advice line and to effect nationwide systemic change in the youth justice system through policy and public affairs work. Augusta also works as part of the Crime team at Just for Kids Law (JfKL). Augusta joined JfKL in September 2016 as part of the first cohort of the Advocacy Year project. She then trained as a solicitor in JfKL’s Education and Community Care team, Strategic Litigation (Public Law) team and Crime team, where she qualified in January 2020. Augusta studied at the University of Kent, obtaining an undergraduate degree in Law and a master’s degree in International Conflict Analysis. She previously worked for Become as a Project Officer for the Passport to Parliament project and for Advocates for International Development (A4ID) as a Learning and Knowledge Officer. She has also volunteered at the Kent Law Clinic, the Free Representation Unit (FRU) and Toynbee Hall Free Legal Advice Clinic.

    Lily Bayrock

    Lily Bayrock

    Events and Projects Officer

    Lily joined Just for Kids Law and the Youth Justice Legal Centre in September 2019. Her background is in performing arts, working with children, and working with and advocating for people living with invisible illness and disability. In 2015 she returned to university to study Rights, Inequality, and Advocacy, following which she moved to the U.K. in 2018.

    Advisory Board

    Mark Ashford

    Mark Ashford

    is a partner at TV Edwards Solicitors, acknowledged as one of the foremost youth crime lawyers in the country, and author of two leading books: Defending Young People in the Criminal Justice System (LAG, 2006) and Blackstones Youth Court Handbook 2018. Chambers 2012 Directory describes him as “a pre-eminent specialist in youth court work in London”. Mark is an accredited police station representative, duty solicitor and has Higher Rights of Audience. In 2015, Mark won the Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year award in the criminal defence category.

    Garry Green

    Garry Green

    Garry is a criminal defence barrister at Doughty Street Chambers. He appears in high profile cases, notably in homicide trials at the Old Bailey. Garry has a strong sense of social justice and his connection to local marginalised communities remains constant. He works for an array of voluntary "grass roots" organisations, and is especially passionate about the welfare of children and young people.

    Shauneen Lambe

    Shauneen Lambe

    is a barrister in England and Wales and an attorney in the USA. She is former joint chief executive officer of Just for Kids Law (2005-2018) and co-founder of Impact - Law for Social Justice, a consultancy that supports those considering using the law for social change. Prior to working in the UK, Shauneen worked at the Louisiana Crisis Assistance Center representing those facing the death penalty and helped Clive Stafford Smith set up his NGO - Reprieve. For her work, Shauneen has been awarded an Eisenhower Fellowship, and Ashoka Fellowship, a Shackleton Fellowship, and a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader.

    Sandra Paul

    Sandra Paul

    is a partner in the Criminal Litigation department at Kingsley Napley LLP. She works with clients in the UK and abroad, including allegations following the #MeToo campaign. Her practice spans the full range of criminal ligation but the majority of her work concerns defending allegations of sexual misconduct. Recent work includes advising within the higher education sector in relation to sexual misconduct – both individual students and universities.

    Sandra co-authors the bi-annual Police Station Update for Legal Action and 'Defending Suspects at the Police station', the police station handbook.

    Greg Stewart

    Greg Stewart

    is principal and founder of GT Stewart Solicitors and Youth Justice lead to the Law Society. He is a higher courts advocate and has over 20 years’ experience of criminal litigation.

    Kathryn Hollingsworth

    Kathryn Hollingsworth

    is a Professor of Law at Newcastle Law School, and is on the management board of the Newcastle Institute of Social Renewal (social justice theme champion). Kathryn’s research is primarily focused on children’s rights within the youth justice system and she was the co-founder of the Street Law project in the Law School. She has degrees from the Universities of Sheffield and Cambridge.

    Caroline Adams

    Caroline Adams

    has been a Sussex police officer for 32 years, during which time she has worked across Sussex in a variety of roles. Most recently, Caroline has been leading work with partners on prevention and early intervention for young people as a youth safety officer. As head of profession for schools policing, Caroline created and developed the nationally recognised Sussex Police Education Programme INSPIRE, delivered by officers in schools across Sussex. Caroline is currently the staff officer to CC Jo Shiner, National Police Chief lead for the policing of children and young people, developing the National Child Centred Policing Strategy and Action Plan. Caroline was awarded the Queens Police Medal in the 2018 Queen’s New Year’s Honours List.

    Jacqui Belfield-Smith

    Jacqui Belfield-Smith

    has significant management and leadership experience in Youth Justice in the Greater Manchester area; most recently as Head of Youth Justice & Targeted Youth Support Services for Stockport Council, a role she has held since 2005. The post involves close collaboration across the 10 GM authorities, including leading on the ‘Children in Police Custody’ workstream for GM. She holds a national position as Vice-Chair of the AYM (Association of YOT Managers), where she also holds portfolios for Policing and ASB, and acts as the AYM rep on the Youth Justice Sector Improvement Board.

    Sarah Richards

    Sarah Richards

    created the Content Design discipline for the Government Digital Service and is the author of ‘Content Design’, the industry’s most concise book on creating digital experiences.

    Peggy Ray

    Peggy Ray

    is an award-winning family solicitor, specialising in complex care cases. She is a member of the Law Society Children Panel and the Association of Lawyers for Children, and sits as a family judge part-time.

    Shawn Mach

    Shawn Mach

    is head of services at welfare law and tech charity LASA. He oversees the running of its groundbreaking Rightsnet website, which was launched in 1998.