Going to court
When you attend the Convenor’s Meeting the Convenor will ask you if you agree with the Convenor’s Statement or not. You have the right to dispute the statements of fact if you do not think they are correct. If you do not think the statements of fact are correct then the Convenor will make an application to the Juvenile Court for a finding of fact hearing. This is to protect your rights.
Do I have to go to court?
You have the right to attend court and it is important that you are there to tell the Judge what you think. The Convenor will write to you and tell you the date and time you need to attend court. You have the right to have an Advocate to speak for you in court.
How long will it take?
The first court date is generally a few weeks after the Convenor’s Meeting. The length of time court takes varies. You will have to go to court more than once. The Judge will ask the Convenor and your Advocate for information.
Who is in the courtroom?
The Judge, the Children’s Convenor, you, your Advocate, any other parties and their Advocates. Depending upon the age of the child, sometimes the child might attend court. Sometimes the Judge will appoint a safeguarder. The safeguarder will be in the courtroom. If the Judge needs to hear evidence then witnesses will be asked to come to court. No members of the public are allowed into the courtroom.
What will happen?
Sometimes the Convenor and the Advocates discuss the Convenor’s Statement and they can reach an agreement about what is correct or not. If the Convenor and the Advocates cannot agree what is correct, then the Judge will decide. The Judge might need to hear evidence from witnesses to help them make their decision.
What can the judge decide?
The Judge could decide that the Convenor’s Statement is not correct and that would be the end of the case. There would not be a hearing of the CYCT.
If the Judge decides that the Convenor’s Statement is correct or some of it is correct then the Judge sends the case back to the CYCT. It is the Tribunal members who make the final decision about what happens to the child.