CYCJ publishes Glasgow Youth Court evaluation

The Glasgow Youth Court is a judicially-led initiative, supported by Glasgow City Health and Social Care Partnership (GCHSCP), and was introduced in Glasgow Sheriff Court in June 2021.  The court operates on a problem-solving basis, hearing the cases of those aged between 16 and 24 years old.  All options are available to Sheriffs sitting within the youth court, but where the presiding Sheriff is satisfied, Structured Deferred Sentencing (SDS) may be employed.  An SDS combines regular court review and monitoring with targeted social work and other interventions, based on the needs of the child/young person as outlined within their Criminal Justice Social Work Report.  A key purpose of the youth court is to support more rehabilitative and participatory justice for young people in conflict with the law.

This report by Dr Aaron Brown and Dr Nina Vaswani, commissioned by GCHSCP, charts the development and impact to date of Glasgow Youth Court. Providing a 365-degree portrait of the Youth Court, the authors combine courtroom observation with testimony from a wide range of actors involved in the court; these include social workers, sheriffs, lawyers and, crucially, those young people whose cases have been heard at Youth Court. It outlines the key factors that affect young people’s courtroom experiences, as well as highlighting early indicators of the impact that the Glasgow Youth Court has had on young people’s participation, compliance and rehabilitation.

CYCJ Director Fiona Dyer said: “As highlighted in our report, the Youth Court in Glasgow is a positive development for children and young people, and a step closer to meeting the requirements of the UNCRC and the Promise, by recognising the neurological and developmental needs of children and young people, allowing them to meaningfully participate in procedures to aid rehabilitation and having tailored support to prevent future reoffending.”

The full report is available HERE.  Alongside this, a more accessible, young person friendly version of the report is available HERE.

Dr Aaron Brown has also written an Information Sheet for practitioners, outlining some of the key findings from this report, which is available HERE.

During our research we found that a lot of young people weren’t sure what to expect, so we made this video for young people, their families/carers and the social workers who support them, presented by Kev Lafferty of Youth Justice Voices / Staf : 

If you would like to learn more about Youth Court please email

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Children's and Young People's Centre for Justice
University of Strathclyde
Lord Hope Building, Level 6
141 St. James Road Glasgow G4 0LT

(0141) 444 8622

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