Youth Court Advocacy Review
In collaboration with the Bar Standards Board, CILEx Regulation has commissioned a Youth Court Advocacy Review (YCAR).
This follows the conclusion of the Independent Parliamentarians’ Inquiry into the Operation and Effectiveness of the Youth Court - led by Lord Carlile - the final report of which was released in June 2014. The report’s recommendations included the suggestion that practitioners representing children at the police station and in youth proceedings should be accredited.
What is the aim?
The project will examine the knowledge, skills, and attributes required by advocates to work effectively and competently in the youth justice system, ensuring that young, vulnerable people are properly protected, while justice is still being administered.
The review will be covering a number of specific issues, including:
- Advocates’ awareness of young defendants’ and witnesses’ circumstances, and their ability to take into account any particular disadvantages or vulnerabilities.
- Advocates’ ability to communicate and engage with young defendants and witnesses, including those with speech, language, and communication needs, as well as any learning difficulties or disabilities.
- Advocates’ understanding of relevant safeguarding and child protection procedures, and how these apply in the court setting.
Who is conducting the research?
The research is being undertaken by the Institute for Criminal Policy Research - together with Just for Kids Law - an independent research institute based at Birkbeck College, University of London.
What form does the research take?
Stage one of the project has been achieved through a multi-faceted research process entailing quantitative and qualitative empirical research and secondary data analysis. Stage two will use the evidence base produced through the stage one research, and through key interviews and roundtables, will produce a comprehensive report and recommendations.
What will happen next?
The final report is due to be published in early summer 2015, and will produce an evidence base which will help us to identify any existing risks within youth court advocacy, and establish what, if any, regulatory action needs to be taken. This, in turn, will inform us on developing our engagement strategies for the future with regard to this crucial area of legal service.