Introduction to new Children’s Court magistrates

Welcome to the Children’s Court of NSW.

We hope the material in the Children’s Court of NSW Resource Handbook will be useful for your induction into the field. Please remember that your colleagues are very happy to help and you should not feel awkward about asking.

The Resource Handbook has been divided into two main types of matters that you will need to address — care and protection matters (from [1-0050]ff) and criminal matters (from [5-0050]ff), which includes the important area of parole (see [6-0200]. Some common issues are highlighted here but proceed to the type of matter you are dealing with to access resource material on specific issues, applicable Acts and Regulations, relevant court practice notes, important cases, useful articles, papers and information available in other media, such as podcasts.

Care and protection matters

Emergency care and protection orders, made under ss 43–45 Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998 are common and it is worth discussing the procedure with someone before you embark on a care day.

Criminal matters

A sentencing chart prepared by her Honour Magistrate Jayeann Carney is attached which sets out our sentencing options.

The Children’s Court is the State Parole Authority for most parolees who are sentenced for offences committed when they were under 18 years of age (see s 29 Children (Detention Centres) Act 1987). This jurisdiction is exercised by any Children’s Court magistrate (but not a Local Court magistrate sitting in the Children’s Court). Parole matters are dealt with only at Parramatta.

Judicial Commission of NSW Bench Books

The Local Court Bench Book, which has basic information about both care and protection matters and criminal matters, provides a useful introduction: links will be provided under the relevant headings in the Resource Handbook.

The Sentencing Bench Book has a chapter on the Children (Criminal Proceedings) Act 1987. The chapter refers to the leading cases involving this piece of legislation and other helpful material. You may access these Bench Books from here or from relevant points within the Resource Handbook.

Legislation

For your convenience, legislation to all the relevant pieces of legislation has been hyperlinked within this Resource Handbook. The hyperlinks are to the JIRS collection of legislation. If you wish to access hard copies of the legislation, apart from printing out the relevant provision, you may wish to check the 4 volume looseleaf LexisNexis publication Criminal Practice and Procedure NSW, which is available within the court.

Other sources of information

Children’s Law News

A further source of help in care matters especially is Children’s Law News, which you will receive by email. Children’s Law News contains judgments which may be of assistance, as well as articles and news regarding such areas as legislative change and practice matters. It is possible to access and search previous issues of CLN through JIRS by going to the Bench Book section and then to Children’s Court Resources under “Other Organisations”. You are strongly encouraged to read all the issues of CLN to date.

Criminal Law News from LexisNexis

This 16 page newsletter can be used to keep up-to-date with current developments in criminal law.

Useful websites

The following websites are helpful: