Apply for OR reconfirm your 30 hours eligibility code to receive 30 hours free childcare.

What happens if I go to court?

Appearing at court can a worrying and challenging time for you and your parent/carers. Be assured that Haringey Youth Justice Service (YJS) will be at court to help and support you throughout the day. We will explain the process and what is likely to happen. Our court day is Thursday at Highbury Corner Youth Court (external link). You may appear at another court, as it will depend upon where your alleged offence occurred, where you were arrested or which police station you were taken to. Wherever you appear, someone from the local Youth Justice Service should be in attendance.

Court day

Please ensure you wear clothes that respect the court and ensure you arrive at 9.45 am if you scheduled for a morning appearance or 1.45pm for an afternoon appearance.

When you arrive, you will be greeted by security, who will check that you are on the court list and which court you are due in. Then report to the court List Caller (Usher), they will usually be holding a clipboard. They will tell you where to wait and which courtroom to go to. You will find the Haringey Youth Justice team office located at the top of stairs near Court 10, please make yourself known to us as well as the Court List Caller.

Who's who in court

The Judge or magistrate sits at the top of the court. The Crown prosecution on your left and your solicitor on your right. Members of the Youth Justice Service will sit on the left-hand side. In front of the Judge/Magistrate sits the Legal adviser.  

You must attend with a parent, carer or Appropriate Adult. No one else will be allowed into the courtroom with you.

Youth courts are less formal than adult courts. They are designed to make it easier for you to understand what is happening. In court there will be either a District Judge or three Magistrates, a legal adviser, the youth justice service officer, a crown prosecutor and your solicitor/legal adviser (see above).

Back to top

Bail and remand at court

You have been told to attend court either by way of being charged with an offence(s) at the police station and bailed to court, or you have received a letter from the police, summonsing you to attend court. Once your case has been heard, there are a few possible outcomes.

Unconditional or conditional bail

The court have decided to bail you to attend a future court hearing. There are two types of bail, unconditional and conditional:

  • Unconditional bail means there are no conditions on your bail period, but you will need to turn up to the next court date.
  • Conditional bail means there are some restrictions to your bail period which you must follow, or you may commit another offence.

Examples of restrictions include:

  • residence – you must live and sleep at a certain address)=
  • a curfew, possibly with an electronically-monitored tag. This means you must be at home between certain hours during the day and/or overnight. This is to prevent you from getting into any more trouble
  • location monitoring, possibly with a GPS Tag – you will not be allowed to enter a certain area during your bail period
  • report to the police station on certain days at certain times
  • not contacting certain people, usually either victims, witnesses or co-defendants

Conditional bail – Bail Support and Supervision programme

If the court takes the view that more stringent supervision conditions are needed, the court could bail you to your next hearing with what is called a Bail Support and Supervision programme. This is a package of supervision and support if you are at risk of being remanded into custody (known as a Remand to Youth Detention Accommodation) or being remanded to local authority accommodation and is aimed at stopping you from re-offending whilst on bail. It provides an opportunity to stay in the community, in a programme tailored to manage your risk and safety, and to avoid further offending.

As part of the bail package, you will have to attend regular appointments with us until the proceedings are concluded or the package is removed. You will also be given other conditions to your bail as listed above.

Conditional bail – with Intensive Support and Supervision (ISS)

ISS is an intensive community-based package offered where standard bail support and supervision is not considered sufficient and is an alternative to secure remand. This ISS package is either a set of bail conditions or a remand to local authority accommodation with conditions. The YJS will assess whether you are suitable for Bail/RILAA ISS, but the decision rests with the court. ISS Bail/RILAA will only be proposed and used as a last resort. The YJS will try to ensure that Bail/RILAA ISS is as bespoke, tailored and child-focused as possible. Conditions are likely to include:

  • a tagged curfew
  • GPS monitoring
  • 25+ hours of weekly contact with daily supervision including education, training or employment (where available)

Remand into local authority care (RILAA)

The court have decided to remand you to attend a future court hearing. This means that you will become looked after by the local authority. The local authority will also be responsible for providing the most suitable accommodation for you. This can be living at home, with a relative, in foster care or in a children’s home. As a looked after child, you will be given a social worker to support you and you will also have an independent reviewing office. You can also be given conditions, just like the bail conditions listed above.

Remand to youth detention accommodation (custody)

If you are over the age of 12, have been refused bail and meet the conditions you will be sent to youth detention accommodation (YDA).

There are two sets of conditions for being remanded to youth detention accommodation (YDA):

  • Serious offences condition (when you are charged with a violent or sexual offence, or one which is punishable with imprisonment of 14 years or more in the case of an adult)
  • Recent history/history condition (when you are charged with any other imprisonable offence).

Depending on your age you will be placed at either a secure children’s home (if under 13), a Secure Training Centre (if under 15) or a Young Offender Institute (if 15 to 17).

  • A secure children’s home (SCH) (external link) is a high quality, safe and therapeutic environment where there is a high ratio of staffing to residents. Provision includes full residential care, education and healthcare.
  • A secure training centre (STC) is usually larger than a SCH and accommodates children who are too vulnerable for a YOI.
  • A young offender’s institution (YOI) is a type of secure accommodation that houses 15 to 21 year olds although the under 18s are kept separate from the older residents. You will receive education, vocational training, offending behaviour sessions and healthcare support. There are 5 YOI’s in England and Wales, they are Cookham Wood, Feltham, Parc, Werrington and Wetherby although other prisons have YOI facilities.

Back to top

Pre-sentence report

A pre-sentence report (PSR) is requested by the court when you are found guilty at trial or plead guilty. It is written by your Youth Justice Officer to explain to the court about the offence, the reasons it was committed and your life. This includes your offending history, school, family, relationships and home life.

The report will conclude with an intervention proposal for the court. The court does not have to agree with this proposal.

You and your parent/carer(s) will need to meet with our YJ officer on one or two occasions. An ASSET+ assessment will be undertaken which covers all aspects of your life and helps with the completion of the PSR.

Back to top

Court sentences

Fine/costs/compensation/victim surcharge

These are financial penalties that can be imposed by the court and will depend upon your circumstances and ability to pay. These can be issued on their own or as well as other sentences.

  • Fine – these are payable to the court
  • Costs – this is to cover or contribute to the prosecution of the case
  • Compensation – for the injury, damage or loss to the victim. Paid to the victim.
  • Victim surcharge – this goes towards victim support services to help future victims

You can pay your court fines online at GOV.UK (external link).

Absolute Discharge

The court has decided not to punish you further as the experience of court is deemed sufficient punishment. These are given for minor offences; however, this will be recorded on your criminal record.

Conditional Discharge

If the court sentences you to a conditional discharge, then as long as you do not re-offend within the time given at court then there will be no punishment. If you do re-offend, then you will be re-sentenced for the original offence as well as the new offences. Conditional Discharges are recorded on your criminal record.

Referral Order

This is usually the first order you would receive at court if you pleaded guilty. They last between 3 months and 1 year. You will be given an appointment to meet with a worker from Haringey Youth Justice Service together with your parent/carer(s). They will gather information with a view to completing an assessment and a report.

A Referral Order Panel will then be held where your contract will be agreed with you, your parent/carer(s) and the panel chair. The contract will include what you will have to do to repair the harm caused. This may include writing a letter of apology or activities to benefit the community. There will be other specific work dependent upon your need i.e., substance misuse, mental health, victim awareness, offending behaviour, etc.

Youth Rehabilitation Order (YRO)

If you are sentenced to a YRO, it is likely that the court will include requirements (conditions) that you must follow if you want to complete the order. These requirements/conditions could include:

  • Supervision – attend appointments with us
  • Curfew – be at home during certain periods
  • Electronic monitoring – used together with the curfew, you will be tagged to ensure you stay at home during certain periods. An external company will come to your residence and fit the tag to your ankle and will notify us of any breaches.
  • Activity – you will engage in particular activities for a specific number of days
  • Prohibited Activity – you must NOT undertake a certain activity such as attend a particular residence/property, travel on a certain bus route etc
  • Programme – you must attend a particular programme i.e., Weapons awareness, Victim awareness etc
  • Residence – you must stay at a specified place – usually your home/placement
  • Exclusion – you must NOT enter a particular area for up to 3 months
  • Reparation – if you are 16/17 you will attend reparation sessions for a particular number of hours
  • Intensive Supervision and Surveillance – this is used as an alternative to custody and is an intensive intervention for between 90 and 180 days. You will receive a timetable of 25 hours activities each week for the first 3 months and then this will be reviewed. This will include reporting to us regularly, attending education, also you will be expected to attend victim awareness, write a letter of apology and attend offending behaviour sessions/groups. You will also be tagged with a curfew.

Detention and training orders

This is a custodial sentence for young people aged between 12 and 17 years. This is for serious offences or where you have persistently committed offences.

If you are 12 to 14 you will usually go to a secure training unit. If you are 15 to 17 you can be sent to either a secure training unit or a Young Offender Institution dependent upon your circumstances.

You will be sentenced to between 4 months and 2 years and will spend the first half of the order in custody. The second half will be served in the community although you will have to attend appointments at the Youth Justice Service.

Your YJS worker will visit you in the custodial establishment on a monthly basis. They will plan for your release from custody to ensure you have suitable housing and education.

s250 Custody

This is a longer-term custodial sentence for more serious offences. The automatic release date is following two-thirds of the sentence. The maximum sentence is 14 years.

s254 Custody

This is an extended determinate custodial sentence.

Back to top

Assisted Prison Visit scheme

The Assisted Prison Visit scheme (APVS) provides a contribution towards prison visit costs for close relatives, partners or sole visitors. The visitor must be on a low income. More about the Assisted Prison Visit scheme (external link).

Back to top

Intervention support

During the course of your appointments with us, we use a variety of support packages aimed at helping you with any problems you may have and repairing the harm you have caused. This support could include:

  • education – to help you with you any problems at school, college or training
  • CAMHS – to help if you are distressed, upset or worried about things in your life
  • drugs and alcohol – to help you understand the impact of substance misuse and to help you reduce or stop.
  • reparation – each session will last between 2 and 6 hours and you will be undertaking work in the community such as gardening, painting etc
  • Reducing Offending Behaviour programmes – to help you change your thinking, attitude and behaviour which may lead you to re-offend
  • victim awareness – to help you understand how the victim feels
  • life skills – this could involve cooking, financial advice and learning how to look after yourself
  • weapons awareness – to help you understand the impact of carrying and using weapons and will teach you first aid techniques
  • positive activities – positive leisure activities including boxing, football, film workshops
  • family support – we provide parental and family support and advice
  • groups – we use a variety of groupwork activities including:
    • After the Hype (pathways out of crime)
    • Aspire Higher (life skills)
    • Exodus (mentoring support)
    • Guest of Honour (positive role-modelling for Black children)
    • Street Doctors (emergency first aid)
    • Ether Project (personal development and leadership skills)
  • Old Bailey day trip – a trip to the highest criminal court which covers, how the court works and weapons awareness
  • Houses of Parliament day trip – a trip to Westminster to show how the government and voting works

You can also access other support for you and your family to help with any problems you or your wider family are experiencing. Refer to Haringey Council's Early Help and Prevention Offer (PDF, 177KB)

Back to top

Your appointments with us

You will be given your first appointment while at court. You can also get phone call and text reminders.

It is important that you are on time or it may not be possible to see you and the appointment will have to be rescheduled.

If you are unable to come to your appointment it is vital that you let us know beforehand. You must have a good reason and have a doctor’s letter or medical certificate if you are too unwell to attend.

You should not bring friends with you. They will be asked to leave the premises.

Your case manager will meet with you and will ask questions about you, your family, your education, lifestyle and why you got into trouble. You will then both agree upon a plan of work to be undertaken during the course of your intervention/order.

We operate a Child First approach which means you will be treated as a child first and not an offender. We aim to develop and work on your strengths in order for you to fulfil your potential

Back to top

Support for parents

As children get older and become more independent, the relationship between parents and children can deteriorate and furthermore parents can lose confidence in their ability to parent their child.

Lack of firm boundaries and appropriate discipline may lead to children:

  • refusing to go to school.
  • displaying anti-social behaviour.
  • getting involved in criminal activities.
  • misusing drugs/alcohol.

In some instances, this can lead to parents having to deal with the legal system, leaving them feeling confused and angry.

How we work with parents

Haringey Youth Justice Service parent support service works with parents in 3 ways:

1. Voluntarily

Many parents want and may even ask for support. The YJS may work with parents on a voluntary basis without using a contract or order. We also offer parent drop-in sessions where you can raise any issues/concerns directly with managers.

You can also access our range of courses which offer parents support on a range of issues to help.

2. Parenting contract

Entering into a parenting contract means agreeing the support offered by the YJS. The contract is drawn up between the parent/carer and the YJS and is signed by both parties. It is not compulsory, but refusal to engage when need for support or guidance has been recognised could be used as evidence in Court when applying for a Parenting Order.

3. Parenting Order

If the parent is unwilling to cooperate, but the need for support has been assessed, the YJS can apply for or recommend a Parenting Order from the Court.

What support can we offer?

The YJS can offer support and guidance in a number of practical ways:

How can the support sessions help parents?

  • Recognition – parents are helped to identify the problem behaviours and look at the possible triggers and resulting consequences.
  • Support – by sharing their experiences parents generate enthusiasm and support for each other.
  • Good to talk – communication is improved at home and relationships are made stronger.
  • Fun – help parents to re-discover that families can be fun.
  • Building relations – helps with communication, especially with family members.

Back to top



Page last updated:

February 21, 2023