In the state of New South Wales, any defendant who is under the age of 18, who is alleged to have committed a crime will have to appear before the Children’s Court.
The Children’s court is a Court, which was established by the NSW Government to deal with young offenders as this court while it may look like any Local Court in NSW, it is different in the sense that The Children’s Court recognises that Young Offender’s make mistakes and prioritises the importance of rehabilitation for the young offender, as opposed to dealing with the young person like an adult.
Young persons who Commit Serious Offences.
It should be noted however that whilst the importance of rehabilitation for young offenders is a priority in the Children’s Court, the Children’s Court can hand down serious penalties including a period of time to be served in a Youth Detention Centre
It should be noted however that sentencing considerations are significantly considered and are of utmost importance in circumstances where the young offender appearing before the Court is charged with a very serious offence or it could be in circumstances where the Young Offender has previously appeared before the Court on prior occasions.
Is the Children’s Court Open for the Public?
NO. The children’s Court is closed to the public. In some instances, the Magistrate can even make a decision to exclude anyone who is not directly involved in the matter before the Children’s Court when a specific matter is being heard individually.
Lodging an Appeal from the Children’s Court?
A Young Offender (or a young person) who wishes to Appeal their Sentence or Verdict (or both) can lodge an appeal to the District Court, and it should be noted that the appeal must be lodged within 28 days of the Court Order being made.
Legislation governing the Children’s Court.
With respect to the legislation which the Children’s Court is guided by, the Children (Criminal Proceedings) Act 1987 (NSW) is the governing legislation for all Criminal matters which come before the Children’s Court.
Are proceedings conducted in the Children’s Court the same as the Local Court?
No. The Children’s Court proceedings are conducted less- formally than the Local Court or any adult Court(s).
Can the Children’s Court deal with Strictly Indictable offences?
No. Strictly Indictable offences and any offence which is being dealt with on indictment cannot be finalised and disposed of in the Children’s Court. Matters which are being dealt with on indictment will be committed to a Higher Court, such as the District Court or the Supreme Court.
It is very important that you speak with a lawyer so that you can get the appropriate legal advice which you require prior to going to court.
Our team of experienced solicitors are there for you and can help you answer all your questions, so be sure to contact Nicopoulos Sabbagh Lawyers.
*This article correctly reflects the Laws of NSW as at 12th October 2022.
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