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Youth Justice Summit 2018: Children and the Police

Caroline Liggins, Head of Youth Team will be attending with Freya Colvin, Bianca St Prix and Aston Stockdale to the annual Youth Justice Summit. We are very proud to be supporting such a great cause. The Youth Justice Summit brings together specialists to share knowledge and expertise on youth justice legal issues.

The HJA Youth Team consists of specialist lawyers who are trained and experienced in representing young people. We combine our knowledge, skill and expertise in youth cases with our ability to communicate with, and be trusted by, young people. The team is particularly known for its willingness to diligently represent clients and leave no stone unturned. We are passionate about fighting for the rights of young people who are often extremely vulnerable in such situations. We are wanting to further develop the community of specialist youth lawyers to ensure children who come into contact with the criminal justice system are represented by lawyers who have the requisite expertise.

We in particular are looking forward to the workshop on Overnight detention at the police station: making s.38 work in practice and discussing the sticking points, strategies and potential remedies. We often see the negative impact of getting it wrong, such as when children have been left in custody overnight even when a Concordat (within the police) have been signed to release young people and keep them as much out of the justice system as possible. Only yesterday, after a young person being stuck in custody for over 24 hours, interviewed (through the night as well) 4 times for 3 different matters; we constantly pushed yesterday for the release of the young person who was unnecessary being remanded overnight to court for today. He finally was released at 22:00. We have to make these legal challenges and shine light on the failures not to release when young people should be and for the local authority to meet their statutory obligation to accommodate children in police custody.

We also can’t wait to discuss Reducing the criminalisation of children in care. The need to Understand why children in residential care are overrepresented in the criminal justice system is key. It is very hard when you sit with a young person at the police station their life is already disjointed, they have no parental support network and their place where they are suppose to call home has called the police on them. The trust just simply goes out the window, they get angry, very upset, very alone and scared because they don’t know what’s going to happen to them and where they are next going to end up. It will be interesting to hear and explore strategies to keep children in care out of the criminal justice system.

Head of the team; Ms Liggins, is constantly lobbying for advancement in this crucial area with the support of her team. She is also continually pushing for changes with the way young people are dealt with within the court system and at police stations, particularly in light of rising levels of serious crime involving young people within the capital.

We look forward to seeing the youth justice legal community and discussing the future and reform in detail.

Young people in the criminal justice system are arguably the most vulnerable in society and we want to keep fighting for their rights.