Research Report

Evaluation of the Airdrie Sheriff Youth Court Pilot



Barnsdale L, MacRae R, McIvor G, Brown A, Eley S, Malloch M, Murray C, Piacentini L, Popham F & Walters R (2006) Evaluation of the Airdrie Sheriff Youth Court Pilot. Scottish Executive. Crime and Criminal Justice, Social Research. Scottish Executive, Social Research.

A pilot Youth Court was introduced at Airdrie Sheriff Court in June 2004. Its objectives were to: • reduce the frequency and seriousness of re-offending by 16 and 17 year old offenders, particularly persistent offenders (and some 15 year olds who are referred to the court); • promote the social inclusion, citizenship and personal responsibility of these young offenders while maximising their potential; • establish fast track procedures for those young persons appearing before the Youth Court; • enhance community safety, by reducing the harm caused to individual victims of crime and providing respite to those communities which are experiencing high levels of crime; and • test the viability and usefulness of a Youth Court using existing legislation and to demonstrate whether legislative and practical improvements might be appropriate. An evaluation of the pilot commissioned by the Scottish Executive found that it appeared in many respects to be working well. It was a tightly run court that dealt with a heavy volume of business. With its fast track procedures and additional resources it was regarded as a model to be aspired to in all summary court business. Whether a dedicated Youth Court was required or whether procedural improvements would have been possible in the absence of dedicated resources and personnel was, however, more difficult to assess. Two issues in particular required further attention. First, consideration needed to be given to whether the Youth Court should be more explicitly youth focused and what this might entail. Second, greater clarity was required regarding for whom the Youth Court was intended to avoid the risk of net-widening and its consequences for young people.

youth crime; youth court; scotland; Criminal procedure; Scotland Social policy; Juvenile delinquency Scotland Prevention.; Discipline of children Scotland; Police Scotland Attitudes; Juvenile courts Scotland; Juvenile justice, Administration of Scotland

Title of seriesCrime and Criminal Justice, Social Research
Publication date30/11/2006
Publication date online2006
PublisherScottish Executive, Social Research
Publisher URL
ISBN0 7559 6078 5

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