This page explains what a court appearance involves, for you and for your family. It only applies to youth courts, which deal with most juvenile offending. If you are going to be appearing at a crown court, this is much more serious and you should consult a solicitor immediately.
A youth court is a type of magistrates court. They only deal with offences committed by children and young people, and they sit privately under special rules. The public are not admitted to youth hearings, and the press can only report general details and nothing which could identify you.
Youth courts are convened in the local magistrates’ courthouse. The address will be on the papers you have been given. Report to the usher on arrival, and they will tell you what to do.
You are entitled to legal advice. We strongly recommend that you arrange this, even if you are pleading guilty. Many solicitors can give free or reduced-rate help under Legal Aid. Look for details in the Yellow Pages, or online or ask to speak to the duty solicitor at court.
You must attend court with your child, and you usually have to pay their fines or compensation. Sometimes it will seem as if everyone is blaming you, but the court is genuinely sympathetic to any parent who is doing their best.
More information about court, bail remand, court reports and community orders is available on the Youth Justice Board website.