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New Bench Book for Youth Defendants in the Crown Court

Youth Defendants in the Crown Court

The Judicial College has announced the release of a new publication dealing with Youth Defendants in the Crown Court, billed as a bringing together ‘everything relating to young defendants that a Crown Court judge needs to know’.


This is a welcome text dealing with some of the difficult problems faced by Crown Court practitioners in respect of young defendants who find themselves in the Crown Court. It replaces, and significantly expands upon, the ‘Youths in the Crown Court Toolkit’ published in 2016. It is a welcome addition to other related texts such as the Youth Court Bench Book.

As the introduction notes, the number of defendants under 18 appearing before the Crown Court is far fewer than even 10 years ago. Consequently, this text is likely to be of significant value both to the judiciary and to criminal practitioners who may have little recent experience of children and young people in the Crown Court.

The text deals with the entire lifecycle of a case: from arrest through to disposal in a style common to the Crown Court Compendium. It deals extensively with some of the most problematic areas of law including sending, bail/remand and disposal and provides useful signposts to both the relevant legislation and Criminal Procedure Rules.

Also of note is a significant section dedicated to the decision to charge and out-of-court disposals, which may be of particular use to practitioners who wish to make representations on out of court disposals.

Written by Nick Murphy, 25 Bedford Row