Research Report

Evaluation of the Hamilton Youth Court Pilot 2003-2005



Popham F, McIvor G, Brown A, Eley Morris S, Malloch M, Murray C, Murray L, Piacentini L & Walters R (2005) Evaluation of the Hamilton Youth Court Pilot 2003-2005. Scottish Executive. Crime and Criminal Justice, Social Research. Scottish Executive Social Research.

A pilot Youth Court was introduced in Hamilton Sheriff Court in June 2003. Its objectives were to: • reduce the frequency and seriousness of offending by 16 and 17 year olds (and some 15 year olds) through targeted and prompt disposals with judicial supervision and continuing social work involvement; • promote the social inclusion, citizenship and personal responsibility of the young offenders while maximising their potential; • establish fast-track procedures for young offenders appearing before the Youth Court; • enhance community safety by reducing the harm caused to victims of crime and provide respite to communities which are experiencing high levels of crime; and • examine the viability and effectiveness of existing legislation in servicing a Youth Court and to identify whether legislative and other changes may be required. An independent evaluation of the pilot Youth Court was commissioned by the Scottish Executive. It found that the Youth Court procedures were operating effectively and initial indications with respect to its impact on youth crime were encouraging. The particular strengths of the Youth Court approach included the fast-tracking of young people into the court system and the availability of additional resources appropriate to the target age group. The smooth operation of the Youth Court and the meeting of relevant timescales were made possible by the level and quality of communication and liaison between different professional groups. However the impact of the Youth Court on offending among young people referred to it will take longer to establish.

youth court; youth crime; scotland; Juvenile justice, Administration of Scotland; Recidivists Scotland; Juvenile delinquency Scotland; Discipline of children Scotland

Title of seriesCrime and Criminal Justice, Social Research
Publication date30/06/2005
PublisherScottish Executive Social Research
Publisher URL…5/26105519/55205
ISBN0 7559 2566 1

People (2)


Professor Margaret Malloch

Professor Margaret Malloch

Professor, Sociology, Social Policy & Criminology

Professor Gillian McIvor

Professor Gillian McIvor

Emeritus Professor, Sociology, Social Policy & Criminology