JR elicits clarification of Section 25 of the Magistrates Courts Act 1980

7 March 2006

Judicial Review proceedings brought against Manchester City Youth Court yesterday were successful in challenging the Youth Court’s decision to decline jurisdiction to deal with trial and sentence. Clarification of this procedure under Section 25 was then given.

R (on the application of R) v Manchester City Youth Court [2006] EWHC 564 (Admin)  is one of a long line of cases challenging decisions of Youth Courts to decline jurisdiction and commit for trial where there was no realistic prospect of the defendant being given a sentence in excess of 2 years detention (see Section 24 of the Magistrates Courts Act 1980).

The Claimant, R, aged 15 and of previous good character, was charged with an unremarkable burglary. Ouseley J quashed the decisions to refuse jurisdiction and to commit for trial on the basis that it was inconceivable that R would receive a sentence of detention for more than 2 years.

The decision is significant because the Judge went on to clarify the procedure under Section 25, whereby the Youth Court should have revisited the issue of venue at the committal proceedings, and were entitled to revert to accepting jurisdiction and dealing with the matter summarily.

The Claimant was represented by Garden Court North Chambers’ Pete Weatherby (instructed by Otten Penna Solicitors).

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