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Changes to referral orders

Sections 43-45 Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015 in force 13 April 2015

Changes to referral orders will allow orders to be extended (or a fine imposed) where further offences are committed or a child is brought back to court for non-compliance.

Details

Changes to referral orders will widen the options for sentencers. Referral orders will now no longer be automatically revoked where a court gives another sentence (unless it is custodial), and the orders can now be extended or a fine imposed where further offences are committed or where a child is returned to court for non-compliance.

The reason for these changes is that “when a referral order contract is breached or further offences are committed, the court must revoke the order, which can result in important programmes under the youth offender contract being curtailed and the restorative justice process being undermined or left incomplete.”1 Provided the total length of the existing referral order is less than 12 months then the court quite simply has the power to extend the compliance period – up to a maximum of 12 months.

These changes come into force on 13 April 2015 and will apply to further offences committed before or after this date, and to a failure to comply with a contract after this date.2

The updated statutory guidance on referral orders is available here.

See the Justices Clerks Society (JCS) news sheet on the referral order changes, here.

  1. Paragraph 133, Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015, Ministry of Justice Circular 2015/01  (back)
  2. Paragraph 136-7, Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015, Ministry of Justice Circular 2015/01  (back)