Course Description

Certificate in Juvenile Justice, Litigation and Advocacy

Law Society of Ireland – Diploma Centre

Programme objectives

On successful completion of this training programme participants will be able to:

  • Appraise the children justice system in the Children Court, Circuit Court and the Central Criminal Court.
  • Critique children-specific criminal law including out of court disposals, bail and remand jurisdiction issues and adaptations to the trial process.
  • Apply key children justice principles.
  • Apply practice direction DC04 – Children Court, together with the requisite adaptations to the normal trial procedures as required.
  • Identify the specific protections for children in care and critique the Role of Tusla and the Child and Family Agency.
  • Demonstrate the ethical awareness required of practitioners when representing young persons.

Programme structure and approach to learning

Participants will have an opportunity to apply key advocacy skills and competencies that are required when representing young persons who have become involved with the juvenile justice system. This will include practicing the speech and language skills required to effectively take instructions from young persons. Lectures will focus on the steps to be employed in proceedings under the Children Act, 2001 as amended, so as to ensure that such proceedings fully comply with a young defendant’s Constitutional rights as well as international standards for juvenile justice. In workshops, participants will then apply practice direction DC04 – Children Court to given scenarios, designed as it is to ensure due regard for the protection of the rights of the child and to safeguard the young person from avoidable intimidation, humiliation or distress. In order to deepen the learning experience, students will have an opportunity to observe and participate in various role-play scenarios involving Children Court proceedings, and to practice and hone communication and advocacy skills that are particularly pertinent when representing young persons.


The programme is based on the following module scheme and covers key themes as listed below:

Module 1: Introduction & the international context

  • History, jurisdiction & venues
  • International standards & the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child
  • The European Convention on HR and the ECHR Act 2003
  • Interface between criminal law and ‘best interests’

Module 2: Initial responses to offending behaviour

  • The Garda Diversion Programme
  • Role of the Child and Family Agency
  • Family welfare conferences
  • Formal & informal Cautions
  • Children in care/ children in special care
  • Supervision
  • Participating in restorative justice & community policing

Module 3: The Children Court – the defence role

  • Taking instruction (in office, court, detention centre)
  • Advice to young defendant in Garda station
  • File preparation
  • Practice & procedure – DC04 – defence lawyer’s obligations
  • A young person’s right to participate
  • Bail applications from the defence perspective
  • Factors to be taken into account when giving evidence
  • Awareness of childhood issues
  • Requesting an intermediary/advocate/ psychologist/ psychiatrist/ support person
  • Advising parents and guardians – conflict with children wishes
  • Effective billing

Module 4: The Children Court – the prosecution role

  • File preparation for court
  • Practice & procedure – DC04 – defence lawyer’s obligations
  • Prosecutorial delay & recent case law
  • Bail applications from the defence perspective
  • Cross examination & reduction of trauma for the child
  • Using child-appropriate language

Module 5:The Judge’s role – the court process

  • Managing the court
  • Age of child
  • S.75 Children Act – jurisdiction
  • Appointing an intermediary
  • Bail
  • Sentencing options (including 10 community sanctions and restorative justice programmes)
  • Interplay with mental health
  • Conflict with rights vs welfare – the Judge’s role
  • Victims’ rights

Module 6: Ancillary services – probation & welfare services

  • The role of the Probation Service and the process involved
  • Interview with children
  • Preparation of Reports for court
  • Role of Probation supervision
  • Child and Family Agency
  • The role of the CFA and the Children Act
  • Children in Care including Residential Care
  • Children in Secure residential Care
  • Family Welfare Conference
  • Preparation for Court
  • Reports for court


Workshops are a key feature of this course. These are designed to be interactive and involve working in groups on selected case-study problems and analysis, with an emphasis on the application of the law to common scenarios encountered in practice.

Workshop 1: Saturday 23 March 2019: Practical application through case studies and drafting exercises of issues encountered in lecture relating to the international context and the domestic legislative framework underpinning the juvenile justice system; initial responses to offending behaviour; and the role of the defence and prosecution.

Workshop 2: Saturday 27 April 2019:  Practical application through case studies and drafting exercises of issues encountered in lecture relating the judge’s role in managing court proceedings and at sentencing.


2,500-word written assignment.

Who should attend?

This course is suitable for solicitors, trainees and barristers. We will also consider applications in limited circumstances from other professionals who have demonstrable experience in the area, including for example social workers and probation officers.


The teaching faculty for this certificate comprises experts in the juvenile justice system. Previous lecturers have included:

  • Pat Bergin, Director, Oberstown Campus
  • Fiona Donnelly, Institute of Professional Legal Studies, Queens’ University
  • Margaret Griffin, Assistant Principal Probation Offices, The Probation Service
  • Terence Hamilton, Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions
  • Professor Ursula Kilkelly, UCC
  • Gareth Noble, KOD Lyons
  • Judge John O’Connor
  • Tom O’Malley, Senior Lecturer, NUI Galway
  • Colette Quinn, Garda Diversion Programme
  • Shane Reynolds, Mason Hayes & Curran


The number of hours of CPD that you may claim in relation to this course will depend on the way in which you access each of the individual sessions. For further information and the booklet, see CPD scheme.

College Name Law Society of Ireland – Diploma Centre
Course Category Law
Course Type Blended - Mix of Classroom & Online
Course Location Dublin, Ireland
Location Postcode Dublin 7
Course Start Date 2nd March 2019
Course Fee 1550
Course Duration Three onsite Saturday sessions with occasional online release of supplemental lectures
Awarding Body Law Society of Ireland
Title of Awarding Certificate in Juvenile Justice, Litigation & Advocacy
For information about Law Society of Ireland – Diploma Centre, please visit our college page on by clicking here.

Course Provider

Law Society of Ireland – Diploma Centre

The Education Centre, Blackhall Place, Dublin 7 (DX 79 Dublin), Ireland D07 VW24, Dublin, Ireland

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