Youth Courts


This section provides a summary of the Youth Courts matters.

The information provided below is general in nature and is not intended as legal advice. The Family Justice Courts (FJC) cannot provide legal advice or assist with drafting the contents of any document.

References to legislation:

  • Children and Young Persons Act (CYPA) 
    The Children and Young Persons (Amendment) Bill has been passed by Parliament on 4 September 2019 amending the CYPA to provide better protection and rehabilitation for children and youths. With effect from 1 July 2020, the amendments that will take effect include:
    • Raising of age limit for Child Protection cases from below 16 to below 18;
    • Introduction of Enhanced Care and Protection orders; and
    • Re-naming of Beyond Parental Control orders to Family Guidance orders.

Other amendments broadly consisting of rehabilitation-related amendments (including the raising of age limit for Youth Arrest cases from below 16 to below 18) will take effect at a later date. 

  • Jurisdiction of The Youth Courts
  • The Youth Courts are presided over by a District Judge or Magistrate, who is designated by the Chief Justice as a Judge of the Youth Courts, a change from the former regime where the Juvenile Court used to be presided over by a Magistrate.

    Under the new regime, a Youth Court has the expanded powers of a District Court in the exercise of its criminal or quasi-criminal jurisdiction, including the power to order Reformative Training for youths found guilty of committing a criminal offence.

  • Approach of the Youth Courts
  • The philosophy of the Youth Courts is that of Restorative Justice, which recognises the potential for change and reform in young offenders and delinquent youths. Restorative Justice seeks to re-integrate the young offender or delinquent youth back into their families and community, as well as balance the need for effective deterrence versus the need for rehabilitation and restoration.

    The Youth Courts place the welfare and best interests of the youth as the first and paramount consideration. Emphasis is placed on identifying and preventing crime, delinquency and abuse through early intervention, assistance and care. There is also protection for youths facing parental neglect. The Youth Courts also take into account the welfare of the youths and in suitable cases, will order them to be removed from undesirable surroundings and make provision for their education and training.

    The Youth Courts work in close collaboration with various agencies, stakeholders and professionals such as the Ministry of Education (MOE), Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), social workers, psychologist and counsellors. The Youth Courts will also issue appropriate orders that will bring about a more sustained change for the betterment of families, including ordering relevant parties in the family of the affected children or youths to undergo mediation or counselling, or to participate in family support programmes or activities that have been put in place by relevant organisations such as the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF).

Multi-Disciplinary Team in the Youth Courts