Magistrates Association Youth Court Protocol – what’s new?
Guest blog by Hannah Couchman, Research and Policy Officer (Youth and Family Courts) at the Magistrates Association on the key changes in the updated version of the Magistrates Association (MA) Youth Court Protocol.
New Allocation guideline
The Sentencing Council have published the Definitive Allocation guideline following their consultation. The new guideline will come into force on 1 March 2016. The new guideline makes it clear that children should be tried in the youth court wherever possible and this will usually require separate trials for children and adults.
High Court: decision to send child to Crown Court is best made after trial
The High Court gives guidance on the new power to commit children convicted of a grave crime to the Crown Court for sentence that came into force on 15 April 2015.
Youth courts given new power to commit to Crown Court for sentence
Youth courts will now have the power to commit children convicted of a grave crime to the Crown Court for sentence. Prior to this change, youth courts could only commit a child if they pleaded guilty at the outset of proceedings. This is intended to increase the numbers of children tried in the youth court.
Unfitness and Jurisdiction in the Youth Court
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.