Youth Court procedures explained

Courtroom Justice

About the court

All cases in court are listed under the name of the young person facing a criminal charge (The Defendant).

The number next to your name

This is the court room the case will be heard in. You should go to the waiting area in the court and tell the usher that you are here. The usher is a person in a black gown. They have a clipboard.

You will have time to meet you legal advisor before the hearing. You can ask them any questions that you have. Tell the usher your solicitor’s name and the usher will let the solicitor know that you are in the building.

Inside the court

Three magistrates sit together in the front of the court room on what is called ‘the bench’. One magistrate is the ‘chair person’. This magistrate will usually speak the most and ask you and your solicitor lots of questions. Occasionally a judge will hear all of the cases instead of the magistrates.

The Court Clerk

The Court Clerk sits at the front bench. The magistrates will ask the clerk for information. The solicitor for the Crown Prosecution Service will also talk to the magistrates.

If you plead ‘not guilty’ to the offence that you have been charged with, the court will need to arrange a trial on another day (they will adjourn). This is so that the magistrate can hear all of the evidence in the case.

They will then decide whether to find you guilty or not guilty. If you are found guilty you will be sentenced.

Before the trial is arranged

Before the trial is arranged the legal representatives often hold a Pre-Trial Review to discuss the case. You do not have to attend this.


If you plead guilty or are found to be guilty the court will decide the best way to deal with you.

They will ‘sentence’ you. The magistrates may decide to sentence you on the day or they may want more information. They may ask for a ‘Stand Down’ report to be prepared. The YOT worker will interview you and your parent / carer at the court and prepare a report to give the magistrates more information to help them with sentencing. You will have to go back to the court room later that day to be sentenced.

Sometimes the magistrates will want even more information and will ask for a pre-sentencing report. This takes longer and you will have to come back to the court on another day to be sentenced.


Some offences are so serious that they cannot be dealt with in a Youth Court. The magistrates will transfer the case (committal) to the Local Crown Court. At Crown Court there is a judge instead of magistrates and a jury of twelve ordinary people.

Mobile Phones

Please ensure that your mobile phone is off when you are inside the court building.

Contacting us

If you need to contact the Youth Offending Team (YOT) please call 020 8770 5754 and ask to speak to either your YOT worker or to the YOT Duty Worker.

Photo credit: Building photograph designed by Kstudio –