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14.6 Providing Court Services

YOUTH JUSTICE STANDARD

Young persons and parent/carers are to be made fully aware of court process prior or at first appearance at court.

RELEVANT CHAPTERS

Youth Justice Legal Framework

Pre-Sentence Report Procedure

Legal Framework Procedure


Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Role of the Youth Justice Team in Court
  3. Court Etiquette and Behaviour
  4. Communicating in Court
  5. Court Lists and Information for Court
  6. Provision of Reports in Advance
  7. Recording Court Results and Details
  8. Requests for Reports
  9. Requests for Pre-Sentence Reports
  10. Requests for a Stand Down/Day of Sentence Report
  11. Possibility of Bail being Refused
  12. Sentencing
  13. Sentencing and Report Authors
  14. Sentencing where there is a Likelihood of Custody
  15. Post-Court Administration
  16. Non-Scheduled Courts
  17. Engaging Young People and Parents/Carers
  18. Managing Media Interest

    Appendix 1: Hints and Tips to Help Improve Practice


1. Introduction

1.1 The Youth Justice Team will provide the full range of youth justice services to all scheduled and unscheduled Juvenile Court hearings during normal working hours as well as the occasions where young people appear in other Courts - Magistrates, High Bailiff’s or Court of General Gaol Delivery. The Out of Hours Duty Social Worker will attend court on weekends and bank holidays, etc. 
1.2 See Youth Justice Legal Framework Procedure and Legal Framework Procedure.
1.3

The Youth Justice Team Court Officer will provide the court with a service giving particular priority to:

  • Providing up to date and relevant information to the court;
  • Engaging children, young people and their parents/carers and providing information on the court process;
  • Ensuring accurate recording of court information;
  • Presenting reports to the court – see also Pre-Sentence Report Procedure;
  • Developing the confidence of the court in the quality of services provided by the Youth Justice Team.


2. Role of the Youth Justice Team in Court

2.1

The Youth Justice Team has arrangements in place for providing a court duty service that:

  • Provides information to courts about children and young people known to the Youth Justice Team;
  • Facilitates communication between the child or young person, their parents/carers and the court – this should include identifying speech, language and communication difficulties, mental health concerns and learning disabilities; it should include supporting the child or young person in communicating as well as signposting to relevant services as appropriate. See also The Isle of Man Safeguarding Children Board (SCB) Inter Agency Child Protection Procedures, Use of Interpreters, Signers or Others with Communication Skills Procedure;
  • Engages children, young people and their parents/carers, and provides information on the court processes;
  • Presents reports to the court;
  • Provides information to assist the court regarding bail, including informal bail support;
  • Records relevant court information about children and young people.


3. Court Etiquette and Behaviour

3.1 Understanding local court etiquette and behaviour is important in maintaining the professionalism of Youth Justice Team staff operating in a court environment. Staff undertaking work in courts should be fully briefed on court etiquette and expected behaviours prior to representing the Youth Justice Team in court.
3.2

The Youth Justice Team Court Officer should arrive in plenty of time for court, allowing time for preparation on arrival, to include:

  • Checking court lists for any updates or amendments;
  • Ensuring that all relevant Youth Justice Team information is available (e.g. Pre-Sentence Reports, specialist assessments);
  • Presenting to key court staff and duty defence advocate;
  • Ensuring adequate supplies of relevant forms, information leaflets, etc;
  • Identifying any cases where specific attention should be paid (e.g. Children or young people at risk of harm either to themselves or from others, or groups of young people who should not contact each other due to bail conditions), and liaising appropriately with key court staff;
  • Identifying and interviewing children or young people appearing in court cells.


4. Communicating in Court

4.1 The Youth Justice Team Court Officer should be vocal in court, and will be required to communicate openly and in public on a frequent basis. The Court Officer should be aware of the language used to address different court staff.


5. Court Lists and Information for Court

5.1

The Youth Justice Team have processes in place for receiving from courts details of children and young people scheduled to attend court. This information should be received by the Youth Justice Team at least one day prior to the court hearing to allow sufficient time to gather the following information for court:

  • Pre-Sentence Reports;
  • Update on progress on current intervention;
  • Whether the child or young person is known to Children's Services or the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS);
  • Whether the child or young person is a prolific or other priority offender;
  • Any risk issues.
5.2 The Youth Justice Team should regularly liaise with court ushers and court legal advisers so they are aware of any additions to the court list or the transfer of cases between courts.


6. Provision of Reports in Advance

6.1 The Youth Justice Team should provide Pre-Sentence Reports and other reports to court within locally agreed timeframes (see Pre-Sentence Report Procedure). Before the report is provided to court, it should have been shared with the child or young person and their parents/carers. Care should be taken to ensure that the child or young person and their parents/carers fully understand the report contents and proposal, which should take into account any mental health problems, learning difficulties, speech, language and communication needs that the child or young person and/or parents/carers may have.


7. Recording Court Results and Details

7.1

The Youth Justice Team Court Officer in court should:

  • Record the outcome;
  • Record case length and sentence;
  • Record any bail conditions imposed;
  • Confirm the name, address and details of children and young people.


8. Requests for Reports

8.1

Where the court request a report to assist with sentencing, the Youth Justice Team Court Officer should consider what type of report would be most appropriate. However, Youth Justice Team Court Officer should always consider the following:

  • Stand down/day of sentence reports - whether, with the availability of a recent Pre-Sentence Report, a stand down/day of sentence report can be completed on the day of court;
  • Pre-Sentence Reports - whether a full Pre-Sentence Report is required and the timescale for completion, taking into account timescales for completing any specialist assessments, such as sex offender assessment, psychological assessment (usually six weeks is recommended for specialist assessments).


9. Requests for Pre-Sentence Reports

9.1

Where the court requests a Pre-Sentence Report, the Youth Justice Team Court Officer should ensure that they:

  • Record the court's view of seriousness if indicated;
  • Advise the court of the timescales required to complete the report;
  • Consider whether a bail condition requiring the child or young person to comply with the preparation of reports is required;
  • See the child or young person and their parents/carers after court to:
    • Confirm contact details;
    • Provide an information leaflet about the report;
    • Identify unsuitable interview times;
    • Outline how the Youth Justice worker will contact them in relation to the report.


10. Requests for a Stand Down/Day of Sentence Report

10.1 Where the court requests a stand down/day of sentence report, the Youth Justice Team Court Officer should follow the procedure set out in the Pre-Sentence Report Procedure, Stand Down or Day of Sentence Report.


11. Possibility of Bail being Refused

11.1 Where a court expresses concerns about a child or young person being granted bail, the Youth Justice Team Court Officer should assist the court with information and offer an informal bail support package if appropriate. See Supporting Young People Prior to Sentence Procedure, Informal Bail Support for more information.


12. Sentencing

12.1

Youth Justice Team Court Officer should ensure that they are in court when a child or young person is sentenced to:

  • Accurately record details of any community sentences;
  • Answer any immediate questions that the court may have;
  • Establish immediate contact with the child/young person and/or their parents/carers.


13. Sentencing and Report Authors

13.1 The Youth Justice Team Court Officer should be aware that courts may have questions about the content of reports, including requests for clarification about comments made in the report or in the proposal. It is good practice for the report author to be available to answer questions. However, the Youth Justice Team Court Officer can perform this role if the report author is absent. In this event, Youth Justice Team Court Officer should be familiar with the content of the report.


14. Sentencing where there is a Likelihood of Custody

14.1 When there is a likelihood that a child or young person will be sentenced to custody or secure accommodation, the Youth Justice Team Court Officer will liaise with the Manager of the Youth Justice Team, Manager of the Secure Care Home and the Safeguarding Team to facilitate placement. See Placements in Secure Accommodation Procedure for more information.


15. Post-Court Administration

15.1 Following the end of the court hearing, the Youth Justice Team Court Officer should liaise with legal advisers to ensure that any missing information relating to bail, remand decisions, conditions or sentences is recorded.
15.2

The Youth Justice Team Court Officer should ensure that:

  • All information on bail or remand decisions and sentences is recorded on RIO case management system;
  • All new court orders are allocated;
  • Feedback on Pre-Sentence Reports is given to authors;
  • Feedback is given to relevant Children’s Services staff where children or young people currently known;
  • Feedback is given to relevant partner agency staff where children or young people known to partner agencies have been dealt with by the court;
  • Any child or young person convicted of an offence of a sexual nature is referred to Children's Services so an assessment can take place regarding risk to other children who may live in the same home;
  • Where children or young people have been remanded or sentenced to custody that parents/carers are contacted and informed of the outcome.


16. Non-Scheduled Courts

16.1 Where the Out of Hours Duty Social Worker is covering court outside normal working hours, they should be aware of arrangements for accessing the RIO case management systems, partner agency duty workers and Youth Justice Team Manager.
16.2 The Out of Hours Duty Social Worker attending non-scheduled court hearings should ensure that they follow the same system for post-court administration as is followed in a scheduled court.


17. Engaging Young People and Parents/Carers

17.1 Provision of General Information

  17.1.1

The Youth Justice Team Court Officer should ensure that children and young people and their parents/carers are provided with information (taking into account any speech, language, communication needs and learning disabilities/difficulties) about:

  • General court proceedings;
  • Orders and requirements;
  • Sources of support and relevant partner agency information;
  • Court etiquette.
  17.1.2 Where available, court information packs should be used to provide this information (note that these should be available in relevant languages).

17.2 Provision of Specific Information

  17.2.1 The Youth Justice Team Court Officer will often be the first point of contact for children and young people made subject of a court order and their parents/carers. Youth Justice Team staff should therefore take time at court to discuss the order, its requirements and the process for completing the order (taking into account any speech, language, communication needs and learning disabilities/difficulties). Where possible, and in line with local procedures, first appointments should be given at court to assist and enable compliance.
  17.2.2 The Youth Justice Team Court Officer should be aware of the potential for children and young people appearing in court to have speech, language, communication needs and/or learning disabilities/difficulties. The Youth Justice Team Court Officer should ensure that they help facilitate communication between the child/young person and the court taking into account these issues.


18. Managing Media Interest

18.1 The Youth Justice Team Court Officer should be aware that there may be media interest in relation to some children or young people appearing in court due to the seriousness of the offences or prevailing political climate. Where media attention is generated by a case, the Youth Justice Team Manager should be informed immediately.


Appendix 1: Hints and Tips to Help Improve Practice

Click here to view 'Hints and Tips to Help Improve Practice'.

End