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Bail in the Youth Court

If your child or a friend or relatives child has been accused of a crime, the shock and fear of them losing their liberty will be unbearable. While a case is ongoing, most children will be allowed bail. This means that they are allowed to not be in prison or in the care of the local authority while waiting for their case to be finished. Parents and families of children should be aware of the rules for when this can happen. We have included a details of what happens when children don't get bail below. Prison is not a good place to be and you should take any steps possible to secure the childs liberty.

With so many poor quality legal aid solicitors you should research and choose your lawyer carefully. The major directories are a good start- you will see the kind of work the lawyers do and you should check experience.We are often instructed to take over cases from other firms where it has all gone wrong with poor advice from legal aid solicitors

If you need further advice from a youth court criminal solicitor, please contact us immediately.

The usual rules for bail for someone aged 17 or over generally apply to children too.

The basic rules are that bail should be allowed unless there is a risk that the accused person will:
  • commit further offences while on bail
  • not turn up to court (abscond) if they are given bail
  • interfere with witnesses
If the youth court decides not to grant bail where they will be taken depends on their age and sex.

If the court refuses bail, children of  ten or eleven must be remanded (this means sent to custody) into local authority accommodation. The court can order  conditions eg that the child  is not placed with a specific person.

FOR TWELVE TO SIXTEEN YEAR OLDS – if bail is refused, the youth court has the same powers with these youths as it does for youths aged 10 or 11.

There are also two extra powers that the court has for children of this age.

-Firstly, the magistrates can place a condition that the youth wears an electronic tag. That is not allowed for 10 and 11 year olds. A tag can only be ordered where the offence is a serious violent or sexual offence, or if the child has a tendency to serious offences while on bail or in local authority accommodation. The tag must also be necessary to protect the public or prevent the young person from committing further serious offences.

-the magistrates  also have the power to remand a youth into local authority accommodation secure accommodation –a local authority prison in other words.

Secure accommodation restricts the free movement of the youth and can only be granted if the same conditions for a tag are met.

Boys aged 15 or 16

If the court refuses to give bail to a 15 or 16 year old, the youth court can use any of the powers listed above for younger people. But if the magistrates feel that the only option is secure remand then this usually means that will be to a remand centre or to prison eg Borstal or Feltham-this is much wose than local authority secure accommodation . If the youth court is of the opinion that it is a bad idea to send a 15 or 16 year old boy to prison because of his level of maturity (physical or mental), he can be sent to local authority secure accommodation.

You should immediately contact a youth court specialist criminal solicitor at EDWARD HAYES if your child ever faces issues with the police or the courts. If you can pay privately for our services you should do so but we do sometimes take on legal aid

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