Bar chair wants child-friendly legal system

The new criminal bar chair has called for a review of the treatment of young people caught up in the criminal justice system.

•The new criminal bar chair has called for a review of the treatment of young people caught up in the criminal justice system. Furnival Chambers’ Sally O’Neill QC, who starts work as chair of the Criminal Bar Association today (3 September), said an increasing number of witnesses, victims and defendants are not even teenagers, but children. For this reason O’Neill has called for a review of how the system treats young people. “At just 10 we already have a very low age of criminal responsibility in this country,” explained O’Neill. “What flows from arrest, interview and the trial process, however, is often poorly adapted to the immaturity of those very young people caught up in the system.”