What is The Youth Justice Court Advice Service (YJCAS)?

The Youth Justice Court Advice Service is provided by the Department of Justice and Community Safety in the Children's Court, Children's Koori Court, Magistrates', County and Supreme Courts.

All children and young people appearing in the Children's Court and Children's Koori Court can access the service.

In the Magistrates', County and Supreme Courts, the service is available to young people aged between 18 and 20 years who are at risk of receiving a custodial sentence.

The Youth Justice Court Advice Service provides information on the youth justice service and community-based options available to divert young people from progression into the criminal justice system.


The Children, Youth and Families Act 2005 (External link) is the principle legislation for youth justice.

In addition, other legislation  that is relevant to the operation of youth justice includes:

Who is the Youth Justice Court Advice Service available to?

  • young people
  • family members of young people
  • legal representatives
  • court personnel
  • magistrates
  • judges
  • police
  • community support service workers
  • youth justice workers, team leaders and management.

How Youth Justice Court Advice Service can assist you

Workers can assist with:

  • providing support and information to young people, their families and/or significant others
  • providing young people with information regarding legal representation
  • provision of advice to magistrates and judges
  • identifying appropriate diversionary options for young people including linkages to appropriate community support services
  • advice about youth justice supervision and offending related programs 
  • presenting reports to the court on behalf of youth justice
  • information about a young person's progress in remand and on existing court orders, including youth parole.

Children's Court

Specific Youth Justice Court Advice Service duties include:

  • referrals to community support services
  • Intensive Bail Supervision assessments
  • advice and recommendations regarding deferral of sentencing or adjournments for pre-sentence reports including appropriateness of Youth Justice or Residential Centre Orders
  • referral to culturally specific services as required.

Magistrates', Supreme and County Courts

Section 32 of the Sentencing Act 1991 (External link) legislates that some 18 to 20 year olds can receive a custodial sentence to a youth justice centre instead of an adult prison if the court believes the young person has reasonable prospects for rehabilitation, or is particularly impressionable, immature or likely to be subjected to undesirable influences in an adult prison.this is commonly referred to as the 'dual track' system.

In adult courts, the Youth Justice Court Advice Service undertakes:

  • youth justice centre suitability assessments
  • supervision of young people on bail or deferral of sentence who are at risk of receiving a custodial sentence
  • preparation and presentation of reports to the courts regarding young people under Youth Justice Court Advice Service supervision.