This project aims to secure the implementation of the recommendations of the Carlile Report on the operation and effectiveness of the Youth Court.
In January 2013, the Sieff Foundation established a Youth Justice Working Group to explore the development of closer links between the Youth Justice and Care Jurisdictions. As a result of the Group’s discussions a Parliamentarians’ Inquiry was set up under the chairmanship of Lord Alex Carlile QC.
The subsequent Inquiry Report was published in June 2014 and has been widely welcomed. It has been argued that the report’s recommendations should be capable of practical implementation and should be vigorously pursued.
The report determined that despite special measures to make the court more child-friendly, there is an inability of both the social services and the youth justice systems to protect young offenders. Furthermore, due to the intimidating nature of trials held in an adult courtroom and a lack of legal representatives with proficiency in youth justice, there is concern that trials in a Crown Court involving young defendants breach ‘the right of children to a fair trial’. This is further compounded by an increasing concern that measures in place do little to reduce the future likelihood of reoffending among those that come into contact with the system at an early age.
It has been apparent in the course of the Foundation’s work since publication of the Report that it is peculiarly and perhaps uniquely well placed, both because of its long standing reputation for independence and for working with other agencies and central government, to promote good practice and procedures in relation to work within the youth justice field. The success of the endeavour to date has been markedly assisted by the continuing and unswerving support of Lord Carlile in the process.
Although both Lord Carlile and the National Children’s Bureau have a continuing commitment to promoting implementation, it is clear that they are unable to achieve the agreed objectives without the continuing input of the Foundation.
The purpose of this project is to secure the implementation of the Report recommendations, which remain unimplemented as of today.
Richard WhiteMichael Sieff Foundation
Ash PatelProgramme Head, JusticeNuffield Foundation
Director, JusticeNuffield Foundation