Children's Court Lawyers : Youth Justice

Children's Court Lawyers : Youth Justice

If you are a parent or guardian of an under-age child who police charged with an offence in the Children’s Court, we can help your child get a second chance in the youth justice system.

Our Extensive Experience Working with Young Persons

Juveniles need special handling by the police, court and justice system

Peter O’Brien gained recognition as a leader in representing children and young people. He received an Australian Award from the National Children’s and Youth Law Centre for excellence in representing people in the Children’s Court. He represented former youth detainee Dylan Voller and many other children in the Royal Commission into Children in Juvenile Detention in the Northern Territory

O’Brien Criminal and Civil Solicitors provide outstanding legal advice and representation to ensure our juvenile clients get the best result in court. Our criminal defence lawyers have extensive experience in Children’s Court and youth justice matters. We assisted many young people charged with criminal offences. Read more about our successful case studies involving young persons here.

Our lawyers also participated in the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Abuse. Our commitment to the protection of the rights of under-age children and those who were offended against as children has no parallel.

What is the Children's Court?

The Children’s Court deals with criminal offences committed by children aged over 10 and under 18 years. The age of criminal responsibility is the same across all states and territories in Australia. In some some jurisdictions, e.g. NT, Tas and Vic, the court is known as Youth Justice court. 

The Children’s Court also deals with: 

The Children’s Court also deals with family law matters relating to children. We do not handle these, as we are a specialist criminal defence law firm. However, we can refer you to lawyers who have family law as their practice area.

Criminal Capacity for Children

What does a closed court mean?

  • A Children’s court is a closed court
  • Only people invited by the magistrate can go inside and listen to what is happening
  • general public are not allowed to be present
  • s 15A of the Children (Criminal Proceedings) Act 1987 also prohibits the publication or broadcast of the names of children involved as offenders, witnesses, or brothers and sisters of child victims in criminal proceedings

Given A Court Attendance Notice (CAN)? What Is It And What To Do:

  • A CAN is a document prepared and used by police and prosecuting authorities to set out the charges that an individual may be facing.
  • If you have received your CAN, it will tell you which court you need to go to and when.
  • You must attend court on the date that it states, failure to appear may result in your matter dealt with in your absence and/or a warrant can be issued for your arrest for the purposes of bring you before the court.
  • You should immediately seek legal advice!

Where are the Children Courts located

Children’s Court sits in four courthouses specifically designated for the Court. These courthouses are located at Parramatta, Surry Hills, Broadmeadow and Woy Woy.

Principles relating to Criminal Proceedings of Children

Under section 6 of the Children (Criminal Proceedings) Act 1987, the principles relating to the criminal proceedings of children include:

  • Children have rights and freedoms before the law equal to those enjoyed by adults, and in particular, a right to be heard, and a right to participate, in the processes that lead to decisions that affect them
  • Children who commit offences bear responsibility for their actions, but, because of their state of dependency and immaturity, require guidance and assistance
  • It is desirable, wherever possible, to allow the education or employment of a child to proceed without interruption
  • It is desirable, wherever possible, to allow a child to reside in his or her own home
  • The penalty imposed on a child for an offence should be no greater than that imposed on an adult who commits an offence of the same kind
  • It is desirable that children who commit offences get assistance with their reintegration into the community so as to sustain family and community ties
  • It is desirable that children who commit offences accept responsibility for their actions and, wherever possible, make reparation for their actions
  • Subject to the other principles described, consideration should be given to the effect of any crime on the victim.

Our seasoned criminal defence solicitors understand how to assist children caught up in the law. We treat every case with confidentiality and sensitivity. We make an intimidating process easier for everyone. In particular, we have experience with members of marginalised communities. For example, indigenous peoples and refugees, and we are aware of their unique circumstances.

Penalties and Fines that you could receive in the Children’s Court

  • Cautions
  • youth justice conferences
  • good behaviour bonds
  • fines, probation orders
  • community service hours

For really serious Crimes:

  • control order (sentence of detention/lock up)
  • suspended sentence

How we Can Help

Please contact us if you are in need of legal advice or representation from a lawyer experienced in dealing with young persons in Children’s Court. Alternatively, you can call us on (02) 9261 4281

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you.


O’Brien Criminal & Civil Solicitors
p: 02 9261 4281
a: Level 4, 219-223 Castlereagh St,
Sydney NSW 2000

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