Handy hints for youth crime lawyers

Handy hints for youth crime lawyers

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

The Children and Justice Legislation (Youth Justice Reform) Bill 2017 was introduced in May and passed Parliament in September 2017. The legislation makes significant reforms to youth justice. The default commencement date for the reforms is 1 June 2018 but we expect a number of the reforms will come into operation before this date. We will ensure you have relevant updates and training to support you before commencement. In the meantime, did you know that:

  • the Education Justice Initiative, a collaborative partnership between the Department of Education and Training and the Melbourne Children’s Court managed by Parkville College, is available to assist young people appearing before the court who need support to re-engage with their education
  • diversion is now universally available for young people through the state-wide Children's Court Youth Diversion Service. The Children and Justice Legislation (Youth Justice Reform) Bill 2017 includes amendments that will enshrine diversion in the Children’s Court with youth-specific provisions. Also, it will create a Youth Control Order, a new sentencing option that will require young offenders to engage in education, work or training and may include curfews and anti-association conditions.

Assistance for panel practitioners

We are keen to help lawyers who deliver services in youth crime, particularly those on the youth crime subsets of the indictable crime or summary crime private practitioner panels. Resources are available to youth crime lawyers including guides and checklists ranging from providing pre-interview advice to young people through to dealing with fitness to plead in the Children’s Court.

Youth crime subset panellists can access Victoria Legal Aid professional legal education videos and associated materials by contacting ple@vla.vic.gov.au. Recent topics of particular relevance to youth crime include:

  • Doli incapax and fitness to plead matters in the Children's Court
  • Responding to media applications and protecting young people's privacy in the Children's Court.

More information

Last year we published Five important things to know about youth crime which are equally relevant today.

Our key youth crime contacts include: