YJLC Director launches new book IN THEIR DEFENCE

25th April 2024 saw the launch of IN THEIR DEFENCE, the compelling new book, written by Aika Stephenson, Legal Director at Just For Kids Law. In the book, Aika, one of Britain’s top experts in youth justice, reveals the extraordinary cases she deals with daily.  

The book has been written for parents, youth workers, social workers and others who are working or interacting with children to give them some insight into the kinds of issues that that children in the legal system face.

From playground mischief to issues with immigration status, from housing to those facing years behind bars for a crime their friend committed, this book lays bare what really goes on behind the scenes, from the police station through to the young offenders’ institution and everything in between. It is an important and revelatory book that confronts the issues that face all young people today.

Using real-life case studies this important book from a leading youth justice expert uncovers the shocking failures in our legal system that are impacting on the lives of so many of our young people.

No new parent expects their offspring’s childhood to be tainted by arrest or conviction. That only happens to other people’s kids, right? Wrong.  From the obviously vulnerable to the A-grade student from a stable upbringing, Just for Kids Law, the campaigning charity co-founded by Stephenson in 2007, has helped thousands of children and young people overcome the difficulties they face.

Aika says: ‘Every day in my job is an adventure, a battle for justice, heart-breaking, and a joy. But very few people truly understand the law that dictates the lives of our young people, and I want to share that with the public – both the heart-warming successes and the shocking failures of the system.'


‘This should be required reading for government ministers, civil servants and all policy advisers on youth justice. Justice should not only depend upon the dedication of individuals and charities. The best interests of the child and the best interests of society require a youth justice system fit for purpose.

Professor Emerita Geraldine Van Bueren KC