Too many children in criminal court, says senior judge –

Too many children are being criminalised by the courts, the most senior family judge in England and Wales has warned. 

Sir James Munby, president of the family division of the High Court, said that the Crown Prosecution Service should look at changing its charging policy for children so that fewer of them end up in the criminal courts. 

Speaking at the Howard League for Penal Reform on Monday, the senior judge said the CPS should “reconsider existing prosecuting policy in relation to children”. 

 He added: “I do not, of course, go so far as to suggest that age alone should immunise children from the appropriate application of the criminal law where there has been really serious offending.

“However, in less serious cases it is legitimate to ask what advantage there is, either to the child, or to the child’s family, or, indeed, to society at large, in invoking a criminal process in preference to a family court process, especially where the family court is already engaged in careful analysis of and planning for the child’s future.”

He suggested that the family court should be given an “enhanced jurisdiction” to allow it to deal with some cases currently dealt with by Youth Courts. 


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