Criminal courts

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Youth courts

A youth court is a special type of magistrates’ court for people aged between 10 and 17.

A youth court has either:

  • 3 magistrates
  • a district judge

There is not a jury in a youth court.

Your parent or guardian must come with you:

  • if you’re under 16
  • if you’re 16 to 17 and they’re given a court order

Some courts might be closed because of coronavirus (COVID-19). Check if the court you’re planning to visit is open to the public.

How youth courts are different from adult courts

Youth courts are less formal than adult courts, for example:

  • members of the public are not allowed in to the court (unless they get permission)
  • you are called by your first name

Types of cases a youth court deals with

A youth court deals with cases like:

  • theft and burglary
  • anti-social behaviour
  • drugs offences

For serious crimes, like murder or rape, the case starts in the youth court but will be passed to a Crown Court.

Sentences a youth court can give

The court can give a range of sentences including:

Appealing a sentence

If you disagree with the court’s verdict, you may be able to appeal. Court staff can give you information on how to appeal.