Fee and guidelines changes for Youth Crime lawyers

Fee and guidelines changes for Youth Crime lawyers

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

On June 1, the Children and Justice Legislation Amendment (Youth Justice Reform) Act 2017, will begin operating. These and other changes to the Youth Justice system mean that new types of hearings will be required for clients. We are changing our guidelines and fee tables to ensure that our clients are provided with high-quality representation at these new hearings by their existing lawyer  – whether by our in-house practice or private practitioners on our panel firms.

The changes will lead to the investment of more than $2 million extra a year by VLA in Youth Crime to ensure clients get continuity of service from expert practitioners.

The new fees will be available on the VLA Handbook for Lawyers from 1 June 2018.

The changes

The reforms change the Children, Youth and Families Act 2005 will: 

  • create a new judicially supervised intensive supervision sentencing option in the Children’s Court, the youth control order
  • make changes to when children will be tried as adults to make it easier to uplift serious matters from the Children’s Court to the higher courts
  • introduce a new (non-legislative) intensive monitoring and control bail supervision scheme.

Youth control orders

A youth control order (YCO) is available if the court considers that the child would otherwise be sentenced to detention but has the potential to be rehabilitated in the community with intensive supervision and monitoring.

To create a YCO the child must attend a planning meeting at which they must be legally represented. For at least the first half of the 12-month order, the court will supervise the child at least monthly at reporting and monitoring hearings where legal representation is necessary.

The only hearing where legal representation is not mandated by the legislation is a hearing where the young person is complying with the order or where it is being changed to a less restrictive order. However, a fee is also payable at those hearings to enable the child to be represented by the same lawyer throughout the proceedings.

Uplift provisions

The reforms make changes to when children will be tried as adults and uplifted from Children’s Court to the higher courts.  There will be new 'serious youth offences' provisions creating category A and category B offences.  For category A offences (including death offences), there will be a presumption against summary hearing if the accused is aged 16 or over.  For category B offences (including recklessly causing injury in various circumstances) the court will be required to consider whether to uplift the matter if exceptional circumstances exist.

Our Fee tables will be changed to include a summary jurisdiction application fee. 

Bail

The Intensive Monitoring and Control Bail Supervision Scheme is a new bail option in the Children’s Court.  

Accordingly, a new fee will be included for Intensive Bail Scheme supervision hearings for a child in the Children’s Court.  Legal representation is not mandatory unless the continuation of bail is opposed.  However, a fee is payable at those hearings to enable the child to be represented by the same lawyer throughout the proceedings. 

More information

For more information please email AssignmentsCrime@vla.vic.gov.au

 

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