Youth justice in the UK: children, young people and crime
Youth justice in the UK: children, young people and crime

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Youth justice in the UK: children, young people and crime

Session 3: Children’s Hearings in Scotland


So far you’ve had the opportunity to learn about the youth justice system in England and Wales, and you’ve begun to appreciate the diversity of practice and policy that occurs throughout the UK. Nowhere is this more obvious than in Scotland where the phrase ‘youth justice’ does not even feature in the name of the system. The system in Scotland is dominated by what are known as ‘Children’s Hearings’. What could be more different from the prevailing focus on offenders and punishment that characterises the system established by the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 in England and Wales? The reasons behind this different approach in Scotland are the focus of your learning in this session.

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Transcript: Session 3 introduction

If you live in Scotland, you won't be surprised to learn that Youth Justice goes by another name there. It's called the Children's Hearing System. And I can remember how surprised I was as a youth justice worker in London to discover that there is a completely different system for dealing with youth crime north of the border.
In this session, you'll find out why they have panels, not courts, and a Procurator Fiscal rather than a Crown Prosecution Service. You'll be guided through the Hearing System and learn what it means to children and the people who work in it. You'll also take a look at other youth justice issues such as serious violence among young people, and the way that Scotland has pioneered new ways of dealing with it.
End transcript: Session 3 introduction
Session 3 introduction
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By the end of this session, you should be able to:

  • recognise the main features of the Scottish Children’s Hearings system
  • identify the significance of the Kilbrandon Commission to the Hearings’ development
  • understand the way the system has been changing.

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