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A Children’s Rights Perspective on the Participation of Juvenile Defendants in the Youth Court

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According to international children’s rights law and standards, juvenile defendants should be given the opportunity to be heard in juvenile justice proceedings. Moreover, from developmental psychological research it can be concluded that young people who appear in court usually have a limited understanding of judicial procedures. Therefore, it is argued that juveniles need to be assisted in giving their views and in understanding juvenile justice proceedings. Insights from the children’s rights and the developmental psychological perspective are taken as starting points in this study to formulate requirements for the effective participation of juvenile defendants. Moreover, this article presents an overview of youth court practices in 11 European countries in order to analyse the extent to which the requirements are fulfilled in practice.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Child Law, Leiden University, Law School


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