Youth Proceedings competences

We consider Youth Court work to be a high-risk area of work following our Youth Proceedings Advocacy Review  in 2015 . This Review found that standards of advocacy in the Youth Court were variable and as a result the interests of some of the most vulnerable people within the criminal justice system were not being adequately represented. 

As a response to the Review, we published the Youth Proceedings competences and introduced a change to the Handbook. Rule S59 requires barrister and pupils working in the Youth Court to register that with us and declare that they have the specialist skills, knowledge and attributes necessary to work effectively with young people, as set out in the Youth Proceedings competences and guidance.

Requirements for Barristers, pupils and AETOs

If you a barrister who works in the Youth Court or intend to do so in the next 12 months, you are required to declare this at Authorisation to Practise. You may register and unregister at any time through the MyBar portal. Registration appears publicly against your name on our Barristers' Register.

If you are a pupil intending to undertake work in the Youth Court during your practising period of your pupillage, you are required to register this. You are asked to make this declaration when you register for your Provisional Practising Certificate. You can register, or unregister, at any time by emailing [email protected].

It is important to remember that by declaring yourself as intending to do the work, as a pupil, you are declaring that you meet the requirements set out within the competences. This does not mean that you are competent to undertake any case in the Youth Court, simply that you meet the competences as they apply to the cases in which you are likely to be instructed. 

If you are an Authorised Education and Training Organisation (AETO), you should ensure that your training programme is designed to enable pupils to meet the Youth Proceedings competences where relevant.

If you declare that you do work in the Youth Court, you may be subject to spot-checks to ensure that you meet the competences.

Making a report about poor performance

If you see something happening in the Youth Court which you think does not meet the Youth Proceedings Competences, or you are not sure whether it does, you should contact us. Your report will be considered by our Contact and Assessment Team and wherever possible, we will work with barristers to improve their performance.