Safeguarding Children's Rights

In collaboration with the Youth Justice Legal Centre (YJLC), the Paul Hastings team supported the planning and execution of the fourth annual Youth Justice Legal Centre Summit 2021. The annual Summit, which is usually held as a ticketed, in-person event with delegates joining from across the country, serves as an opportunity to bring together youth justice professionals to share knowledge, circulate innovation, and develop best practice resulting in better outcomes for some of society’s most vulnerable children. This year, amidst the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic, an in-person Summit unfortunately became unfeasible. However, with support from the Paul Hastings team, the YJLC Summit 2021 was moved online for the first time ever, with the day’s events reworked into a day-long virtual event which was produced in collaboration with a film production company and streamed live from the Paul Hastings office. In addition, the event was also able to offer free tickets for all delegates with the sponsorship of Paul Hastings and others, helping the YJLC Summit 2021 to successfully engage many more youth justice professionals from across the world. With over 2000 views by the end of the day this year’s event had a much bigger impact than previous years.

The day brought youth justice experts from various jurisdictions together with practitioners to learn about bias and discrimination and to share ideas on how to overcome it. Delegates heard from a diverse panels of leading experts from around the globe including The Rt Hon The Baroness Hale of Richmond, Rt Hon David Lammy MP, Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, Professor Emerita Geraldine Van Bueren QC, Professor Ann Skelton, Professor Sarah-Jayne Blakemore, death row exonoree Ryan Matthews and Dave Merritt.

In 2019, we collaborated with Just for Kids Law (JFKL), UNICEF, and CORAM Children’s Legal Centre, to create a practitioners’ guide on defenses available under Modern Slavery and Child Trafficking legislation in connection with young people exploited by county lines gangs. This step-by-step handbook has been distributed to over 3,000 lawyers.

The team also drafted a guide for professionals on the legislation, case law and guidance concerning the retention, deletion and disclosure of police records. The guide has been widely disseminated and also formed part of JFKL’s legal submissions in a UK Supreme Court case challenging the legality of disclosures of youth criminal records. The previous criminal record disclosure laws required all previous convictions to be disclosed, however minor, when the person has had more than one conviction, and included warnings and reprimands issued to young offenders.

In a landmark judgment, the Supreme Court ruled that the disclosure of youth reprimands to future employers was incompatible with human rights legislation, a decision that will benefit thousands of children issued with youth cautions every year.