We use the experiences and needs of our clients by working with a number of national groups which lobby for changes in the youth justice system. We remain an active member of the Standing Committee for Youth Justice (SCYJ), the advisory group for the Prison Reform Trust’s (PRT) ‘Out of Trouble’ campaign to reduce child custody and The Sieff Young Defendants Steering Group.
See examples of our recent policy work here
"The judicial review by Just for Kids Law regarding Appropriate Adults for 17 year olds in custody is a textbook example of strategic litigation"
Steve Broach, barrister at Doughty Street Chambers, February 2013
Whilst individual representation of our clients remains a priority, arguably our work can have greater impact for a greater number through strategic litigation of issues that have far reaching impact. This work is therefore an important area that we are developing and formalising. With funding from the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation and the Shackleton Foundation Shauneen Lambe is heading up this programme of work.
We want to challenge the youth justice system as we think there are vast elements of the system that deals with children and young people that is not fit for purpose and is often in breach of the UN Convention on the Rights of the child. The UK currently has one of the lowest ages of criminal responsibility in Western Europe and the youth courts are an uncomfortable cohesion of welfare titled outcomes in an adversarial criminal system.
For example we are currently looking at the idea of developmental capacity and the ability of young people to meaningfully engage in a criminal trial or the introduction secure docks in the youth courts across England and Wales, preventing children and young people from sitting with their lawyers and therefore understanding what is going on or the police keeping children in their cells overnight when they should be in local authority accomodation. Please contact us if you would like more information about this project.
Read more about our recent cases and reported work.