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My child is going to court

If your child is given a court attendance not​ice (CAN) or charged, they will have to attend court on a set date. Your child is entitled to be represented by a duty solicitor who will interview your child at court on the day they appear. You should arrive at court by 9am.

You should, as the parent, make yourself available for interview if required by the duty solicitor. A Youth Justice officer can be contacted to discuss your child's appearance in court.

On their first appearance at court for a specific offence or offences, your child will be asked to enter a plea - guilty or not guilty.

The decision to plead guilty or not guilty will be made by your child following advice from the duty solicitor.

On this page:

If your child pleads not guilty

  • Your child will have to come back to court for a hearing where witnesses, including the police, will give evidence.

  • Once all the evidence has been heard, the magistrate will decide whether the charges have been proven.

If your child admits the offence or the offence is proven

  • The magistrate may ask you, the parent, if you have anything to say.

  • The magistrate will decide your child's sentence on that day or adjourn the matter until Youth Justice can provide a background report on your child.

  • If the magistrate asks for a background report, your child will have to return to court another day for sentencing.

  • The magistrate may decide to refer your child to a youth justice conference.


  • If your child is over 14 years of age, the police may take photographs and fingerprints which will be destroyed if the court dismisses the charge.

  • The police will then decide if they allow bail until the child appears at court.

If your child is found not guilty

  • The charges will be dismissed and no record of charge will be kept and any fingerprints or photographs will be destroyed.

Attending court by audio visual link

  • If your child is in a Youth Justice centre they can attend court by audio visual link instead of physically attending the court.

  • If attending court by audio visual link your child will be taken to a booth at the Youth Justice centre.

  • In the booth is a television that shows the courtroom and court officials. It also shows your child's solicitor, the magistrate and police prosecutor.

  • Images of your child at the centre appear on television in the court.

  • The court hearing proceeds as if your child was physically at the court.