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Coroners and Justice Act 2009

Young offenders: referral conditions

647.Paragraph 12 of Schedule 15 makes changes to the conditions which must be satisfied for a young offender to be sentenced to a referral order by amending section 17 of the 2000 Act to take account of convictions obtained in another European Union member State.

648.When a child or young person is given a referral order, he or she is required to attend a youth offender panel, which is made up of two volunteers from the local community and a panel adviser from a youth offending team. The panel, with the young person, their parents/carers and the victim (where appropriate), agree a contract lasting between three and 12 months. The aim of the contract is the prevention of reoffending by the offender.

649.Section 17 of the 2000 Act has been amended by section 35 of the 2008 Act and, although these changes have not yet come into force, references below are to the 2000 Act as amended.

650.Section 17(1) of the 2000 Act sets out the conditions which, if met, require the court to make a referral order (“the compulsory referral conditions”). They apply where a young offender aged under 18 appears before a UK court, has no previous convictions and pleads guilty to the offence or offences with which they are charged. Paragraph 12(2) extends the provision in respect of what count as previous convictions, so that a previous conviction by a court in another European Union member State will count in the same way as a conviction by a UK court, so that a young offender with previous convictions in another European Union member State will fall within the compulsory referral conditions.

651.Section 17(2A) to (2C) of the 2000 Act set out the circumstances in which a court may, but is not obliged to, impose a referral order (“the discretionary referral conditions”). Where the compulsory referral conditions are not satisfied, a referral order may be made where the young offender pleads guilty to the offence or at least one of the other offences they are charged with and the young offender:


has not been convicted previously in a UK court;


has been convicted only once before in a UK court and has not previously received a referral order, or


has been convicted more than once before a UK court and received a referral order on only one other occasion (subject to further conditions).

652.Paragraph 12(3) to (5) make amendments to these conditions so that convictions by or before a court in another European Union member State are treated in the same way as a conviction by or before a UK court (making allowance for the fact that of course an offender convicted in another European Union member State cannot have received a referral order in respect of that conviction).

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