In the Youth Court
What's Important To Us
It is important to us that Oranga Tamariki staff members who are involved in working with the Youth Court have a good understanding of the processes of the Court and how they relate to us and the people with whom we work.
Staff members must present and conduct themselves in a professional manner in the Youth Court. This enhances the organisation's reputation of delivering quality service and support as required under the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989. We do this by writing informative, clear and concise reports and plans and by responding in a timely manner to directions and referrals made by the Youth Court and others engaged in the youth justice process.
Guidance for social workers and youth justice co-ordinators in managing young people on Youth Court plans and orders.
Process for when young person offends outside of their own community
Sometimes a young person commits an offence away from their own community e.g. when they are visiting or on holiday in another town. This means that the offending will initially be dealt with by the Police and the Youth Court in the area in which the offence occurred.
In many cases the Youth Court will transfer the matter to the young person’s home town processing. However there will be times when the Youth Court wishes to have the matters dealt with where the offending has occurred.
Often this will involve two sites or two youth justice teams and requires clear communication between those involved.
Process before deciding whether to proceed with application/declaration to cancel, vary or suspend a Youth Court Order
Where a young person does not comply with their order, the social worker supervising that order should:
- contact the youth advocate as they might be able to persuade their client to carry on completing the order. Informing the youth justice co-ordinator is also advisable. This kind of intervention ideally takes place in the early stages of a breach. It is important that social workers monitor their cases on a regular and ongoing basis to identify any non-compliance before it becomes a significant problem. Depending on the type of order some young people will be on the 'High Risk' register.
- if the young person continues to not comply with the order consult with the supervisor and a solicitor before an application is made to Court to cancel, suspend or vary an order is made. This consultation should cover whether a cancellation, variation or suspension is appropriate and what specific changes may be required.
Consultation between the social worker, the youth justice co-ordinator and the social work supervisor is the best way to ensure that everything has been done to support the plan.
Youth Court responses to failure to comply with orders
When the Youth Court declares the young person has not, without a reasonable excuse, complied with a sentencing order, the Youth Court may suspend, cancel the order and substitute with another order. If the young person is failing to comply with a judicial monitoring component, it can be cancelled and replaced with an Intensive Supervision order.
Variation and cancellation of orders (s296E)
On receiving an application for declaration for a young person failing to comply from a social worker, the Youth Court may:
- cancel the order
- suspend the order for period specified by the Youth court
- suspend a condition of the order for a period specified by the Youth Court
- iImpose a further condition of the order
- vary a condition of the order.
The Youth Court is now empowered on application by the social worker to issue a warrant to have the young person arrested and brought before the Youth Court. The warrant issued by the Court is satisfied that:
- all reasonable efforts have been made to locate or, as the case requires, to serve the breach application on, that young person, but those efforts have failed; or
- the breach application has been served on that young person but he or she has failed to appear before the Youth Court.
Judicial monitoring (s308A)
The Court may direct the judicial monitoring of one or more conditions of a Supervision or Supervision with Activity order for the following reasons:
- the current order is in place of one with which the young person failed to comply
- the young person has been previously subject to an order more restrictive than a supervision order
- the young person has been subject to a sentence of home detention or imprisonment or a community based sentence under the District Court.
A direction for judicial monitoring may require the young person to attend the Court every three months or more frequently as specified and social workers may be required to provide progress reports for Court hearings. The Police or a social worker may ask the Court to direct the young person to attend and a warrant to arrest may be issued if the young person fails to appear in the Court as directed.
Electronic monitoring (s296K)
When the Youth Court is considering an Intensive Supervision order the Judge may impose a curfew that may require the young person to remain at one or more specified periods of each day at a specified address. The Youth Court can also consider imposing an electronic monitoring condition on a young person for up to six months to ensure compliance with the curfew condition. When the Judge imposes electronic monitoring (s)he must also record in writing his or her reasons in doing so.
Split sentencing (s311(2A) for Supervision with Residence and s307(2) for Supervision with Activity)
When a charge is proved in the Youth Court, orders are made under s283. If more than one order is appropriate, the Youth Court is usually required to make those orders at the same time. Commencement dates can vary. However with Supervision with Residence and Supervision with Activity orders, split sentencing enables a case to be brought back to Youth Court to latterly consider the appropriateness/duration/conditions of a Supervision order.
There is no provision under 'split sentencing' to make other types of orders.
Supervision with Residence: The Youth Court, when imposing a Supervision with Residence order, must also make a supervision order. The direction for a Supervision order need not be made when the Supervision with Residence order is made. The Court may adjourn the proceedings to a date before the expiry of the Supervision with Residence order for the Supervision Order to be made. It is likely that the Supervision order will be made at the early release hearing required before the young person has completed two-thirds of the Supervision with Residence order.
Supervision with Activity: The Youth Court when imposing a Supervision with Activity order must also make a Supervision order. The Youth Court when imposing a Supervision with Activity order may adjourn the proceedings to a date before the expiry of the order to consider the making of a Supervision order.