Certificate in Juvenile Justice (New)

Start Date 30 September 2017 at 9:30 am
Exam Date Assessment includes a 2,500-word written assignment.
Delivery Method Blended learning: online lecture release and three onsite interactive Saturday sessions.
CPD Hours The number of hours of CPD that solicitors may claim in relation to this course will depend on the way in which you access each of the individual sessions. For latest details and the booklet, see CPD scheme.
Course Leader Rory O’Boyle, Solicitor, Course leader: R.OBoyle@lawsociety.ie



We are no longer accepting applications for this course. If you are interested in applying for the next course, please register here for our Interested List. We would be happy to contact you when applications open for the next offering of this course. We look forward to welcoming you to study with the Diploma Centre.


Programme objectives
On successful completion of this training programme, participants will:

  • Understand the key advocacy skills and competencies required when representing young persons who have become involved with the juvenile justice system;
  • Have developed an awareness of the varying needs of young people who are subject to such proceedings;
  • Be able to comply with the requirements of the practice direction DC04 – Children Court, making the requisite adaptations to normal trial procedures;
  • Have knowledge of the sentencing options in the Children Court and the implications of the principle that detention should be a last resort;
  • Be able to reflect on the particular legal standards and ethical awareness required of practitioners operating in such settings.

Programme structure and approach to learning;
The goal of this certificate will be to detail for practitioners the steps to be employed in all proceedings under the Children Act, 2001 as amended, so as to ensure that such proceedings fully comply with a young defendant’s Constitutional rights as well as international standards for juvenile justice. Participants will be required to reflect on the practical application of DC04 – Children Court, designed as it is to ensure due regard for the protection of the rights of the child and to safeguard the young person from avoidable intimidation, humiliation or distress. In order to deepen the learning experience, students will have an opportunity to observe and participate in various role-play scenarios involving Children Court proceedings, and to practice and hone communication and advocacy skills that are particularly pertinent when representing young persons.

The programme is based on the following module scheme and covers key themes as listed below:

Module 1: Introduction and the international context

  • History, jurisdiction, and venues
  • International standards and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child
  • The European Convention on HR and the ECHR Act 2003
  • Interface between criminal law and ‘best interests’

Module 2: Initial responses to offending behaviour

  • The Garda Diversion Programme
  • Role of the Child and Family Agency
  • Family welfare conferences
  • Formal and informal Cautions
  • Children in care / children in special care
  • Supervision
  • Participating in restorative justice and community policing

Module 3: The Children Court – the defence role

  • Taking instruction (in office, court, detention centre)
  • Advice to young defendant in Garda station
  • File preparation
  • Practice and procedure – DC04 – defence lawyer’s obligations
  • A young person’s right to patriciate
  • Bail applications from the defence perspective
  • Factors to be taken into account when giving evidence
  • Awareness of childhood issues
  • Requesting an intermediary/ advocate/ psychologist/ psychiatrist/ support person
  • Advising parents and guardians – conflict with children’s wishes
  • Appeals

Module 4: The Children Court – the prosecution role

  • File preparation for court
  • Practice and procedure – DC04 – defence lawyer’s obligations
  • Prosecutorial delay and recent case law
  • Bail applications from the defence perspective
  • Cross examination and reduction of trauma for the child
  • Using child-appropriate language

Module 5: The Judge’s role - the court process

  • Managing the court
  • Age of child
  • S.75 Children Act – jurisdiction
  • Appointing an intermediary
  • Bail
  • Sentencing options (including 10 community sanctions and restorative justice programmes)
  • Interplay with mental health
  • Conflict with rights vs welfare – the Judge’s role
  • Victims’ rights

Module 6: Ancillary services – probation & welfare services

  • The role of the Probation Service and the process involved
  • Interview with children
  • Preparation of Reports for court
  • Role of Probation supervision
  • Child and Family Agency
  • The role of the CFA and the Children Act
  • Children in Care, including Residential Care
  • Children in Secure Residential Care
  • Family Welfare Conference
  • Preparation for Court
  • Reports for Court

Who should attend?

  • This course is suitable for practitioners, trainees and students.
  • It will also appeal to other suitably qualified professionals who are involved in the juvenile justice system, including social workers and probation officers.

We welcome applications for this course from suitably qualified non-members. Please explain your interest and set out any relevant experience in a cover letter and a brief CV. Such applications are subject to a supplemental fee of €100.

Lecturers and tutors will be drawn from solicitors, barristers and others with expertise in acting on behalf of young persons.