Skip to main content

Problem-solving practice: encouraging change in the Youth Court

A new report, ‘Time to get it right: enhancing problem-solving practice in the Youth Court’, co-authored by the Institute for Crime and Justice Policy Research (ICPR) at Birkbeck and the Centre for Justice Innovation, is published today.

In the last 10 years, the number of young people coming to court has declined by 75% due to falls in youth crime and the successful diversion of cases away from formal court proceedings. However, while there are currently fewer court-involved young people, they tend to have more significant welfare needs, as well as more serious offending profiles than they did a decade ago.

The multi-year research study, conducted by the ICPR in collaboration with the Centre for Justice Innovation, examined current practice in the youth court and how the court was meeting the needs of vulnerable young people. The study looked to identify how the current practice might be developed further. Specifically, the researchers were interested in exploring the potential impact of practices aligned with problem-solving justice – an evidence-based approach which seeks to hold people accountable and to help them to proactively engage with the court to address the factors driving their offending. 

Gillian Hunter, Senior Research Fellow at the ICPR, commented:

“Our research highlights the need for enhanced problem-solving practice in the youth court – including greater specialist knowledge and training for those working with young people as judges, magistrates and legal representatives, and further adaptations of court layouts such that they are always less formal than the equivalent for adults. There should also be better resourcing of youth justice and children’s services to ensure the young people who come before the court receive the support they need. 

“The findings emphasised the need for an official repository so that learning can be shared and further innovative practice in the youth courts can be fostered.”

Further Information

More news about: