Understanding the Children’s Court

Children’s court deals with alleged criminal cases against minors. The children’s court has its stipulated rules regarding cases forwarded to it, the privacy of the court proceedings, and the rules on age and criminal responsibility. The sole purpose is to segregate cases involving minors from those of adults. There are specific courts built specifically for childrens’ cases, but where resources are limited, children’s court proceedings can be scheduled to be heard in regular courts  in the presence of child custody lawyer sydney when there are no court proceedings. Judges sitting in the children’s courts are required to undertake special training concerning children and possible charges so that they can preside over the cases in the interest of the child.

How Juvenile courts operate

Children under 18 years are culpable for criminal charges but children under 12 cannot unless they are either 10 years or 11 years but facing aggravated criminal charges such as rape, murder, manslaughter, or sexual assault. If an under 14 child faces criminal charges, a DPP must give consent for court proceedings, otherwise, the judge is likely to drop the charges if he is convinced that the minor did not understand the offence pressed against him or her.

Various cases handled in the children’s court

The children’s courts are bestowed with powers to handle all cases involving children or criminal charges by parties under the age of 18 years. The children’s courts hear all the minor offences while serious offences must be in the high court or in the childrens’ court but before a jury. Certain offences might not be heard in the children’s court but central criminal courts such as; murder cases, conspiracy to commit murder, attempted murder, rape, attempted rape, manslaughter, piracy, sexual assault, and treason.

A child involved with an adult in the same offence: When a child or children are charged with minor offences alongside adults, the case should be brought to the children’s court. And the adult offenders’ cases will be read differently like they were in the regular court. In case a child and an adult or adults are jointly facing serious offences, a child will face charges in the children’s court and the court assumes the child is standing charges alone while the other party proceeds to the respective court.

What happens when a child pleads guilty: Serious offences involving a child will normally be heard by higher courts but in case a child pleads guilty, the judge will have no option but to send him or her to the higher courts only for sentencing. But, the courts must prove beyond reasonable doubt that the minor understands the charges or allegations placed against him.

Children’s court privacy: Children’s court is treated as a delicate and private affair, therefore restrictions are imposed as to who should be present during the court proceedings. These are parties permitted in the children’s courtroom:

  •   Court officials
  •   Parents/guardians
  •   The subject child plus their lawyers
  •   Witnesses from both sides
  •   Other parties such as child rights and human rights agencies




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