16 February, 2018
Under the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, a civil injunction may be granted against any individual aged 10 or over. However, for those Respondents between the ages of 10 and 18, there are key procedural differences in bringing an application for a 'Youth Injunction', as well as variances in the order which the Court can make, and the consequences if that order is later breached.
The Respondent in this case was the resident of a homeless project which had been set up to support young people and provide them with a programme of training and education and prepare them for independent living. The Respondent had been served with notice determining his residency at the project following the violent assault of another resident, which resulted in the resident being hospitalised.
Upon receiving notice to leave the Respondent reacted badly and aggressively, threatening to injure staff members, yelling abuse and shouting that he would smash up and burn the building down. These threats, coupled with the recent assault which the Respondent had carried out, left staff members extremely concerned for their own personal safety, as well as for the safety of visitors and residents in the building.
As there had been both violence and a threat of violence used by the Respondent, and there was a significant risk of harm posed to others, the application was made 'without notice' to the Respondent and a Power of Arrest was also applied for.
Although it is a civil remedy, applications for Youth Injunctions can only be heard in the Criminal Youth Courts across England and Wales and the application paperwork is very different, as it includes a requirement for Applicant's to complete a complaint in writing, a 'checklist' and a summons for the Respondent to attend the return on notice hearing. Moreover, unlike in the case of adult Injunctions which can be put in place indefinitely, if serious enough, a Youth Injunction cannot be longer than 12 months.
Additional steps must also be taken by an Applicant, including consultation with the local youth offending team (YOT) prior to the return 'on notice' hearing. The YOT's permission is not required to proceed with a youth injunction application but in reality the YOT's support may be important later to ensure that the young person complies with any Injunction Order that is made.
If a Youth Injunction is found to have been breached, whereas adult offenders may be committed to Prison for contempt of court, in cases concerning young people this is not an option. Cases of breach are more likely to result in a 'Supervision Order' being made, imposing curfew/restriction requirements on the young person or in certain, more severe cases, the Court has the power to make a 'Detention Order' for a short duration.
In this case, the Court granted the emergency application in full on an interim basis, pending a return hearing listed a couple of weeks later to allow the Respondent to attend and present his case. The Respondent and his next of kin were personally served with the papers and saw the criminal duty solicitor at the return hearing. The Respondent did not dispute the allegations made and an Injunction Order with Power of Arrest was finalised and ordered to remain in place for the maximum 12 month period, constituting a great outcome for the Applicant.
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