Children in the criminal justice system: Non-criminalisation of children during COVID-19 lockdown

Tuesday 21 April 2020

The Garden Court Criminal Defence Team are pleased to announce a series of webinars on children in the justice system.

Date: Tuesday 21 April 2020
Time: 11:30am-12.30pm
Venue: Zoom  
Cost: Free
Areas of Law: Criminal Defence , Youth Justice & Child Rights

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In this first webinar we advised on how to respond when children break the law and breach the COVID-19 regulations:

  • General protections against criminalisation of children
  • Duty placed on parents (not children) to abide by new rules
  • Guidance for police officers and other public bodies on how to respond to anti-social behaviour under lockdown
  • Guidance to lawyers on how to prevent criminalisation
  • Potential public law challenges 

This webinar series was conducted online through the web conferencing platform, Zoom. Please see a recording of the webinar below.




Anya Lewis, Barrister, Garden Court Chambers (Call: 1997) (Chair)
Anya has experience of representing children and young people particularly when they are charged with serious violence and sexual offences in both the Crown Court and on certificates for counsel in the Youth Court.  She was invited by the Michael Sieff Foundation to contribute to a roundtable seminar on Youth Justice and has spoken on the issue of jury trial access for children at Just For Kids Law Youth Justice Summit 2018. She recently co-drafted COVID-19 Child Protocol in Criminal Cases to call upon the Home Office, National Police Chiefs' Council and Youth Justice Board to issue guidance that children should not be arrested and detained during the Covid-19 lockdown other than in exceptional circumstances. In particular, children should not be arrested for breaching the coronavirus regulations.

Joanne Cecil, Barrister, Garden Court Chambers (Call: 2004)  
Joanne has a mixed serious crime and public law practice, with criminal justice-related judicial review and civil litigation in the civil liberties sphere. She has a strong appellate practice both domestically and internationally, appearing at all levels including the Supreme Court.

She is ranked as a leading junior in crime and civil liberties and human rights.  Joanne was shortlisted by Legal 500 for Crime Junior of the Year 2018, awarded the Rising Star in Youth Justice Award in 2018 and Legal Aid Barrister of the Year, 2019 (LALY’s).  She is a Board Member of Just for Kids Law and the Standing Committee for Youth Justice and formerly of ROLE UK and was appointed as an independent commissioner on the ‘Bach’ Access to Justice Commission. 

Joanne has a particular specialism in children and criminal justice.  She is a lead facilitator for the Advocacy and the Vulnerable and sits on the Ministry of Justice’s Working Group on Youth Advocacy.  Joanne was counsel in the case of R v Grant-Murray and Ors  [2017] EWCA Crim 1228 which made important observations about vulnerable defendants and resulted in changes to case management in criminal cases involving children, including pro-active consideration of the use of the dock at an early stage. 

Kate Aubrey Johnson, Barrister, Garden Court Chambers (Call: 2001)
Kate is a youth justice specialist barrister at Garden Court Chambers with experience as a criminal defence practitioner and public lawyer. 

Kate was formerly Director of the Youth Justice Legal Centre at Just for Kids Law. She helped establish the Youth Justice Legal Centre, a national organisation which provides expert legal advice and guidance on children’s rights in the criminal justice system. In this role she developed and delivered a national training programme for lawyers on youth justice law. Kate is co-author of the leading textbook Youth Justice Law and Practice (LAG, 2019). She is a youth justice expert and is regularly called upon to give lectures and deliver training. She chairs the Ministry of Justice’s Youth Justice Working Group on Quality of Advocacy and she sits on the Justice Working Party on BAME Disproportionality and the Advisory Board for the Centre for Justice Innovation.  Kate is working closely with the Law Society, the Criminal Bar Association and the Inns of Court College of Advocacy to ensure children are represented by lawyers who have undertaken specialist training.

Kate has an extensive knowledge of children’s rights law and also works as an SEN mediator. She is the author of Making Mediation Work For You (LAG, June 2012) and is a member of Garden Court’s Mediation team.

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