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

YJLC will provide 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.

Who we are

Kate Aubrey-Johnson – Director, Youth Justice Legal Centre
Kate is a youth justice specialist barrister at Garden Court Chambers and having qualified in 2001 has represented many children and adults in criminal and prison law cases. Kate has delivered training programmes for Just for Kids Law and the Prison Reform Trust and given expert evidence before the Joint Committee on Human Rights as well as providing expertise on a number of national reviews and reports. Kate has an extensive knowledge of children’s rights law and also works as an SEN mediator. She is the author of Making Mediation Work For You (LAG, June 2012).  Lord Woolf, former Lord Chief Justice, describes her “excellent book” as “breaking new ground”. Kate worked as a youth worker and teacher in England, Kenya and Uganda before training as a barrister. She co-founded a small charity working in Uganda and is a trustee and Board member for a number of organisations supporting and empowering children and young people.

Laura Cooper – Youth Justice Lawyer
Laura is a specialist youth justice lawyer. 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 also works part-time for a criminal defence firm in London.  She has previously worked for Reprieve in Houston, Texas and at the Office for the High Commission of Human Rights, United Nations in Geneva.

Katya Moran – Youth Justice Lawyer
Katya is a specialist youth justice solicitor with ten year’s experience representing children in criminal proceedings.  Katya has always specialised in representing children and pioneered the development of Just for Kids Law’s interactive legal training programme involving young people who’ve had experience of the criminal justice system who share their experience and provide valuable insight to lawyers. Katya now joins the Youth Justice Legal Centre to develop our training and digital services for lawyers.

Petra Jodlova – Project and Development Manager
Petra joined Just for Kids Law in January 2018, prior to joining the charity she had been managing the Food for Education Programme and the UK School Meal Programme at The Akshaya Patra Foundation UK. She has also volunteered as the Employability and Integration Advisor at the organisation Women for Refugee Women, providing practical and emotional support for refugee women and asylum seekers. She completed her MSc in Politics at the University of Surrey in 2016, with her dissertation examining whether the UK PREVENT counter-terrorism policy has influenced how Muslims are framed in the British media. In addition, she won the Postgraduate Politics prize 2015/2016 for best overall performance. Petra has a degree in International Relations and EU Studies, Metropolitan University Prague and Politics and Public Administration, University of Limerick.

Alice Millest – Strategic and Business Consultant
Alice is a freelance consultant supporting third sector organisations to be more financially self-sufficient, and private companies and investors to become more socially responsible. Alice also works with philanthropic organisations and individuals to apply a more hands on venture capital like approach to their giving. Following five years in the City, investing debt into SMEs alongside private equity, Alice moved to Social Finance to apply her skills in the third and public sectors. During two and a half years there, Alice was able to gain experience working directly with charities and social enterprises to help them evolve into more self-sufficient and investable businesses and also collaborate with Trusts and Foundations, supporting them to bring their investing and grant making activities closer to one another.

Claire Sands – Youth Justice Researcher
Claire is a freelance researcher on children and young people’s issues, with a focus on youth justice. She is author of Growing Up, Moving On. The international treatment of childhood criminal records (SCYJ, 2016) and was the researcher on Criminal Care. Children’s homes and criminalising children (The Howard League for Penal Reform, 2016). Claire is currently working with a number of other organisations including the Howard League, King’s College London (on the Child Studies MA programmes), Department for Education and Centre for London. Claire is a qualified solicitor and practised for a number of years at Mishcon de Reya Solicitors. She is a Trustee of Home-Start Westminster.

Fiona Bawdon – Communications
Fiona is an experienced freelance legal affairs journalist, writing for the national and specialist press. She is commissioning editor at Legal Voice and co-founded the Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year Awards and the Act for the Act campaign. She has a long-standing interest in youth justice in its widest sense and has written and campaigned in this field over many years. She has a masters degree in criminology.

Advisory Board

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 2013-14. 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.

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.

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.

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.

Sarah Richards is former Head of Content Design for the Government Digital Service, leading the team who won gold awards in the 2013 Writing for Design Awards at D&AD.  She is currently working with Citizens Advice on updating its digital strategy.

Keir Starmer QC was DPP from 2008-2013 and, since stepping down, has returned to practice at Doughty Street Chambers, where he was formerly head of chambers. He is renowned for his human rights work and as a respected author. He is currently a member of the Labour Party’s Victims’ Taskforce, advising on the creation of a victims’ law. In 2015, Keir was elected as the Labour MP for Holborn and St Pancras.

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.

Chrisann Jarrett is an Ambassador with Just for Kids Law and former YJLC intern. Chrisann is former head girl of Clapton Girls Academy and is studying law at LSE.


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.