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Since Just for Kids Law was founded, youth justice has been a crucial focus of our work, and our criminal law practice is a central pillar of the organisation. Our lawyers do their utmost to avoid the criminalisation of children and make sure that young people’s voices are heard and valued both at the police station and – in cases where court proceedings cannot be avoided – in the courtroom.
Our criminal solicitors can help children and young people with issues including:
- Communicating with the police: we make representations to the police to stop children being held in custody and seek alternative ways of dealing with a case before charges are brought.
- Questioning at the police station: we represent children and young people when they are being questioned by the police and advise them on their options.
- Representation in court: when a court case can't be avoided, we provide representation to children and young people to ensure their voices are heard, their rights respected, and the best outcome for their case is secured.
- Communication difficulties: we have particular expertise in assisting clients who have special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and autistic spectrum disorders (ASD), helping them to overcome communication difficulties and ensuring they are listened to.
- Child criminal exploitation: we are at the forefront of using the Modern Slavery Act (MSA) to avoid criminalisation of victims of child criminal exploitation, including in the context of "county lines" gangs.
In addition to providing direct representation to clients, we improve outcomes for young people by providing one-off specialist advice to lawyers, other practitioners and parents through our Youth Justice Advice Line. The advice line is operated as part of our Youth Justice Legal Centre, which also has a wealth of online resources such as an A-Z guide to youth justice law.