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Thursday 9th of July 2020

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English youth courts need urgent help to cut delays, review finds

Tuesday 30th of June 2020 | Europe, United Kingdom
The Guardian
News

Urgent action is required to address delays in “overburdened” youth courts, and there should be a time limit for police to charge a young person with a crime, a review of the youth justice service in England has concluded.

Though the number of children going to court has fallen by 75% in the last 10 years – with 27,000 appearing in court in England and Wales in the year to March 2019, compared with 107,000 in 2010 – delays have increased.

This is a result of cuts to funding from central government, a court modernisation programme under which half of all magistrates courts have closed or merged, and a change in policing strategy that has allowed forces to keep young people “under investigation” for a year or more after arrest, according to a report by the Centre for Justice Innovation and the Institute for Crime and Justice Policy Research.

David Lammy, the shadow justice secretary, said Covid-19 would exacerbate the already lengthy delays. “The backlog existed before the pandemic but has been compounded by the lockdown,” he said.

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