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Criminal Defence >

Youth Justice & Child Rights

Garden Court Chambers has a leading reputation for championing children’s rights in the criminal justice system.

To contact the Youth Justice & Child Rights Clerks, please email crimeclerksmailbox@gclaw.co.uk or phone

+44 (0)20 7993 7600

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C&P 2022 Top Ranked

We have long been a figurehead in celebrating diversity and challenging the over-criminalisation of children from Black, Brown and Racialised groups.

Our Expertise

Our team is renowned for developing the law in relation to effective participation of children in criminal cases.

We have been at the forefront of developing protections for child victims of trafficking and criminal exploitation in the criminal courts.

As a multi-disciplinary pool of experts we draw on our expertise in criminal law, community care, housing, immigration, family and public law.

We are youth justice specialists with expertise, knowledge and understanding of the rights of child defendants in criminal cases and the importance of ensuring that children effectively participate in criminal proceedings. We recognise the disproportionate over-representation of children in the criminal justice system, in particular, children with neurodisabilities, looked after children, children from Black, Brown and Racialised groups.

Barristers from Garden Court Chambers have been involved in most of the recent leading judgments raising child rights arguments in criminal cases.

Protecting the rights of children facing criminal proceedings is fundamental to ensuring all vulnerable people receive meaningful access to justice and their right to a fair trial is upheld.

Notable Cases

TI v Bromley Youth Court [2020] EWHC 1204 (Admin)
Divisional Court clarifies the legal test for intermediaries for child defendants

R (on the application of P, G and W) (Respondents) v Secretary of State for the Home Department and another (Appellants) [2019] UKSC 3
Ruling on the criminal records regime and the disclosure of youth reprimands and youth cautions. Declaration of incompatibility. Law changed.

R v Grant-Murray and Henry; R v McGill, Hewitt and Hewitt [2017] EWCA 1228
Court of Appeal judgment on joint enterprise and trials of vulnerable defendants.

R v Jogee [2016] UKSC 8
Historic joint judgment of Supreme Court and Privy Council. Joint enterprise.

R (OP) v Secretary of State for Justice [2014] EWHC 1944 (Admin)
Test case concerning the lack of provision of registered intermediaries for vulnerable and child defendants in criminal trials. Court held unlawful.

R (HC) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2013] EWHC 982 (Admin)
High profile landmark test case concerning the anomalous position of 17-year-olds being treated as adults when detained in police custody. Law changed.

MEET THE TEAM

Recent notable cases and news

Garden Court Crime Team statement on no returns action

30 March 2022

Gráinne Mellon highly commended at Bar Pro Bono Awards 2021 in the 'Junior Pro Bono Barrister of the Year' category

We are delighted to announce Gráinne Mellon of Garden Court Chambers was highly commended in the 'Junior Pro Bono Barrister of the Year' category at the Bar Pro Bono Awards 2021

3 November 2021

Gráinne Mellon shortlisted for International Bar Association's Pro Bono Award 2021

We are delighted to announce Gráinne Mellon of Garden Court Chambers has been shortlisted for the International Bar Association's Pro Bono Award 2021 for her incredible work helping vulnerable EU children and families apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.

28 October 2021

Garden Court secures number one rankings in Chambers UK Bar Guide 2022

21 October 2021

Garden Court Chambers Crime Team shortlisted for Crime Set of the Year by Chambers Bar Awards 2021

We are delighted to announce that the Garden Court Chambers Crime Team has been shortlisted by the Chambers Bar Awards 2021 for Crime Set of the Year.

27 August 2021

Our Kate Aubrey-Johnson awarded Highly Commended Award in ECPAT UK's Children's Champion Awards

Congratulations to our Kate Aubrey-Johnson of the Garden Court Chambers Youth Justice & Child Rights Team who was awarded the Highly Commended Award at Every Child Protected Against Trafficking (ECPAT) UK's 'Children's Champion Awards'

23 March 2021

ECHR judgment finds failure to adequately protect potential victims of child trafficking

Henry Blaxland QC, Emma Fitzsimons and Stephen Clark of Garden Court Chambers represented the claimant, VCL. Michelle Brewer, a former tenant of Garden Court also represented VCL.

16 February 2021

Our Kate Aubrey-Johnson acts in case that clarifies the only route of appeal for victims of modern slavery

30 January 2021

Kate Aubrey-Johnson and Joanne Cecil appointed by the Lord Chancellor to the Expert and Advisory Panel for the Independent Review of Criminal Legal Aid

29 January 2021

Government announces children will be exempt from the recent extension to custody time limits

Joanne Cecil of the Garden Court Chambers Youth Justice & Child Rights Team has worked tirelessly to achieve this fantastic result.

15 January 2021

We are top ranked by independent legal directories and consistently win awards.

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