Inside the Youth Justice Court

The judge sits on the bench at the front of the courtroom, and lawyers sit facing them on another bench.

Usually anyone can sit behind the lawyers and listen to the evidence. However, in some cases the judge may ask people to leave the courtroom and stop some evidence from being published in the media.

When this happens the judge will advise the courtroom the matter is now in 'closed court'.

You should do all of the following inside the court:

  • bow to the judge when entering and leaving a courtroom
  • enter and leave the courtroom quietly
  • not talk, eat or chew gum
  • turn off your mobile phone
  • remove your sunglasses or hat.

Find out more about courtroom rules.

Types of cases in the Youth Justice Court

The different types of cases a young person may face are listed below.

Mention

This is where the lawyers and judge speak briefly about what kind of case the young person should have.

Bail application

The lawyer for the young person in detention may ask the judge to allow them to stay in the community or release them from detention under supervision or other restrictions.

If the judge agrees to release a young person from court, they may be placed under some restrictions.

These restrictions can include any of the following:

  • a curfew, including electronic monitoring
  • reporting to a probation and parole officer, for supervision or to help with information to write a report for the court
  • taking part in a program.

If the judge does not release the young person they will have to stay in detention until their next court date.

Case management inquiry

This involves the judge asking questions of the lawyers and government services about where the case is up to.

They set another day for the young person to come to court again.

Hearing

This is where a young person does not want to plead guilty to an offence.

Witnesses come to court and answer questions about the incident involving the young person. 

A hearing may involve more than one court appearance.

Preliminary examination paper

This is where the judge, the prosecutor and the lawyer for the young person agree the type of crime the young person has been involved in is too serious to be in the Youth Justice Court.

This is a brief hearing. The young person's case is then transferred to the Supreme Court. 

Preliminary examination oral

This is when the prosecutor has asked the judge to consider sending the young person to the Supreme Court because they have been involved in a serious crime. 

Plea

This is when a young person has agreed to plead guilty to an offence.

The charges will be read out to the young person and they will have to answer ‘guilty’.

The judge may then decide at the end of the hearing whether the young person is guilty or not.

If they are found guilty the judge may ask for an assessment before they are sentenced. 

Read about the types of sentences for young people.

Assessments for young people

The court may ask government services to write reports to help make the best decision about a young person. 

Probation and parole officers write reports, which can include information that help the court to:

  • understand more about a young person's risks and needs, and what may have influenced a young person to break the law
  • provide information about the young person and their family
  • understand whether they are suitable for the type of community-based order the judge is considering
  • be sure they can be managed by Community Corrections while living in their identified community.

The young person will be interviewed by a probation and parole officer and depending on the type of report, can take from a couple of days and up to several weeks.

The probation and parole officer should go through the report with the young person and their carer. 

If the young person or their family don't agree with the report, they should talk to the probation and parole officer first, then to the young person's lawyer.

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Last updated: 27 June 2017