I have received a letter to go to court. What do I have to do?
Going to court can be daunting, and you and your parents/carers may be worried about what could happen. It is important that you find a solicitor who can go through the process for you and advise you on what to do or say. If you come to court without a solicitor please let our YJS staff know so they can help you find a duty solicitor.
Please attend court at the time given, either 9.30am for a morning appearance, or 1.30pm for an afternoon appearance. There will be an Usher in the court, please let the Usher know who you are, and whether you have a solicitor. The Usher will help guide you to the right courtroom and tell you how long you may have to wait until it is your turn.
What happens at court?
Once you have informed the Usher that you have arrived, and have met with your solicitor the court will be informed that you are ready to go into the courtroom. In the Courtroom there will be a District Judge, or Magistrates. The Prosecutor for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) will be there as well as your solicitor. There will also be a Clerk/Legal Advisor present to ensure that everything is being done in line with the law. There will also be a member of the YJS present, as well as the Usher. Your parents/carers can come into the courtroom with you but friends and relatives will have to wait outside.
When in the courtroom, you will be asked to stand and give your full name, date of birth and address. The charges will then be called out and you will be asked whether you plead Guilty or Not Guilty. Please make sure you talk to your solicitor about your pleas so that they can advise you on the process. If you Plead Guilty, the court will be looking at what Order to sentence you to (in some cases the court may not make a decision straight away and will ask the YJS to complete a ‘Pre-Sentence Report’ to help them decide which sentence to impose on you). If you Plead Not Guilty, a further date will be set for a trial to take place. Your solicitor will talk to you about your finances, in case you are given a fine at court so that the court can decide how much you will be fined and how this will be paid (e.g. weekly).