17 September 2019

New regulatory approach to improve advocacy standards within Youth Courts

At our Board meeting last month we agreed new measures to improve standards of advocacy within Youth Courts.

We have published new guidance for barristers working in youth proceedings based on a set of essential competences that are expected of all advocates working with vulnerable young people.

This represents the first phase of regulation in the light of the Youth Advocacy Proceedings research which we commissioned and published in November 2015.

Our phased approach will involve introducing compulsory registration later in the year for barristers practising in youth courts. Whilst there are examples of good practice in this area, registration will allow us to identify all barristers who are working in the Youth Courts and where necessary to take steps to ensure that they have the specialist skills, knowledge and attributes that are crucial when working with young people.

We believe that this work is a priority, given the variable standards of advocacy the research found within the Youth Courts, and the vulnerability of the young people involved. We have worked with interested parties across the youth justice sector to develop these competences.