Juveniles Accused Have No Confidence in Legal Representatives

| General

On 10th October 2022 the global criminal justice watchdog Fair Trials which campaigns passionately for equality, justice, and fairness published its long-awaited report which found that juveniles facing the criminal justice system do not seem to have any confidence in their respective appointed legal representatives. 

What Did The Organisers Aim To Do?

The report sought to examine, investigate and look into the belief circulating the legal profession that persons facing allegations of criminal offences are put on trial by the Crown Prosecution Services. Specifically, it deep-dived into the situation where they submitted their rebuttal to the respective allegations and the matter is tried in a public court. The organisers of the report discovered that this is not a situation they recognised. 

Our Survey Said…

Astonishingly, the research found that in the first three months of 2022, sixty-six-per-cent of those facing Crown Court criminal allegations in the jurisdiction of England and Wales entered guilty pleas and the significant majority of those facing magistrates court allegations submitted guilty pleas to allegations against them. In context this is in excess of those in the Crown Court. However, this research found that the greater proportion of those accused in the jurisdiction decide to relinquish their rights to claim remedies in the criminal trial process and have the full case tried in open court.

Some interesting statistics emerged from the research including but not limited to the following:

  • the organisers found that a staggering ninety per cent entered a plea of guilty to in excess of one criminal offence
  • from an empirical perspective and in comparison to the position in the United States of America the record of acquittals demonstrated that back in 2015 just over ten per cent of those persons who had entered pleas of guilty in response to allegations were later and somewhat astonishingly acquitted following a relatively simple DNA test and 
  • by way of context this consisted of a sample size of just over three hundred and fifty convictions and around forty five per cent of all this category of acquittal.

Breaking It Down…

Juvenile Criminal Justice System

The results of the survey highlighted a number of trends affecting the criminal legal sector including but not limited to the following:

seventy-five per cent of those who have criminal convictions imposed upon them find themselves in a revolving door whereby they receive a second conviction within twenty four months of the initial conviction 

just under forty five per cent of the sample examined and incarcerated in a penitentiary appeared to emanate from Black and Ethnic Minority backgrounds and

around thirty per cent of those facing accusations of criminal activity were in the pre twenty five age group demographic

So Why Are Such Person Pleading Guilty?

Those who submitted responses to the survey put forward some interesting perspectives as to why pleas of guilty are entered by persons facing allegations of criminal conduct. One argument put forward was the possibility of those accused wanting to obtain the lowering of their accusations, punishments and jail time. However, when the organisers of the investigation delved into the decision-making process they surprisingly found that there was minimal evidence suggesting that entering a plea of guilty had any possible implications for their distant future prospects. Point of fact the results found that behind most of these choices was the prioritization of instant results. 

The justice system needs to ensure that there is enough 

  • time 
  • data and 
  • assistance 

provided to persons in this situation or there are likely to be more similar unsafe guilty pleas.


#ABV #DuncanLewis #EdwardsDuthieShamash #FreemansSolicitors #GTStewartimited #Hempsons #HpwardKennedy #ITNSolicitors #JanesSolicitors #ReedsSolicitors #RonaldFletcherBaker #ShearmanBowen&Co #SonnMacmllanWalker #StewartMillerSolicitors 


[SOURCE 1] Min, Bruno et al - FairTrials – Young minds, big decisions – October 2022 - Reform criminal appeal process to cut miscarriages of justice / Justice and Home Affairs / Policy Commissions / Labour Policymaking

[SOURCE 2] Fouzder, Monidipa – Young defendants lack trust in lawyers – Law Society Gazette – 10 May 2022 - Young defendants lack trust in lawyers, Fair Trials reports | News | Law Gazette

[SOURCE 3] Helm, Rebecca – ‘Constrained Waiver of Trial Rights? Incentives to Plead Guilty and the Right to a Fair Trial.’ [2019] 46(3) Journal of Law and Society 424-425

[SOURCE 4]Exeter University Evidence Based Jusitce Lab, ‘Post Office Project’ – 22 September 2022

[SOURCE 5] Natsvlishvili and Togonidze v Georgia, App No 9043/05. Judgment of 29 April 2014



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