Australian Institute of Criminology

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Juvenile court system

Introduction

In all States and Territories, there are specialised children's courts that have jurisdiction over offences committed by young people. The courts may be constituted by a specialised children's court magistrate or judge, or by a magistrate constituting a children's court and exercising the powers under the relevant legislation. In most jurisdictions, they are modified courts of summary jurisdiction with enlarged powers to deal with matters summarily.

Youth courts, by state

Australian Capital Territory

New South Wales

Northern Territory

South Australia

Tasmania

Victoria

Western Australia

Jurisdiction and features of Youth Courts

Are Youth Courts open to the public?

JurisdictionOpen?Governing Act
ACT No Children and Young People Act, s 61
NSW No Children (Criminal Proceedings) Act, s 10
NT Yes * Juvenile Justice Act, s 22
QLD No Children's Court Act, s 20
SA No Youth Court Act, s 24
TAS No Youth Justice Act, s 30
VIC Yes * Children and Young Persons Act, s 19
WA Restricted
* unless otherwise Ordered

Can a juvenile or their parent request a trial by jury and how?

Can a juvenile or parent request a jury trial and how?
JurisdictionRequest Jury?Governing Act
ACT Yes For indictable offences Children and Young People Act, s 91
NSW No Except as for all offenders Criminal Procedure Act 1986
NT Yes For indictable offences Juvenile Justice Act, s 37
QLD Yes For serious indictable offences Juvenile Justice Act, s 70
SA Yes For indictable offences Young Offenders Act, s 17
TAS Yes For indictable offences Child Welfare Act, s 27
VIC Yes Children and Young Persons Act, s 134
WA Yes Children's Court of Western Australia Act, s 19B

Can charges be dealt with in different courts?

Are juveniles charged with serious offences such as murder, rape and armed robbery, tried in a higher court?
JurisdictionOther court?Governing Act
ACT Yes Children and Young People Act, s 91
NSW Yes Children (Criminal Proceedings) Act, s 28
NT Yes
QLD Yes
SA Yes Young Offenders Act, s 17
TAS Yes
VIC Yes Children and Young Persons Act, s 16
WA Yes

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