Children’s Court – Procedures And Operation
- Specialist court established in 1987 under the Children’s Court Act 1987 (NSW).
- The court is less formal than other courts and intends to be not as intimidating.
- The Children’s Court deals with criminal matters of children and young people under 18 as well as with matters of care and protection of children referred to it by Family and Community Services (FACS)
- Under the Children (Criminal Proceedings) Act 1987:
- Children have rights equal to adults
- Children are responsible for their actions but require assistance and guidance
- Where possible, the education of a child should continue without interruption
- A child should be able to reside in their home
- The magistrate will take reasonable measures to ensure that the child understands the proceedings
- A conviction is not recorded if the child in under 16.
- Children’s proceedings are conducted in a closed court. The media may attend, but cannot publish the identity of any children
- For children, the main purpose is for rehabilitation.
- Sentencing guidelines in NSW include:
- Every child has the opportunity to participate in proceedings, and they must understand the rulings.
- Consideration must be given to the child’s dependency on others and their immaturity.
- The child should be assisted with reintegration into the community.
- Penalty imposed should not be greater than the penalty that would be applied to an adult.
Extract from Legal Studies Stage 6 Syllabus. © 2009 Board of Studies NSW.