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To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what recent assessment his Department has made of the effect of appearing in court via live video link on a child defendant's (a) ability to participate effectively in court proceedings, (b) propensity to plead guilty or not guilty, (c) likelihood of being granted bail and (d) severity of sentence after conviction.
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of a child defendant appearing in court via live video link on the ability of youth offending teams to fulfil (a) duty to conduct post-hearing safeguarding checks with the child and (b) their other statutory duties.
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that parents and carers are informed when a child defendant appears in court by video link; and what steps his Department is taking to ensure parents and carers attend the court hearing.
HM Courts & Tribunals Service is committed to ensuring that children and young people who go to court understand what is happening, take part in the process and receive the appropriate support, including agreed adjustments.
Criminal Practice Directions are in place and give guidance to the courts and users about how to effectively and appropriately make use of live links and telephone facilities. This includes guidance on how and when live links should be used for hearings and provides specific guidance for defendants aged under 18.
The court will deal with any application for use of a video link on a case‐by‐case basis, after consultation with the parties, including parents and carers and the Youth Offending Team.
The Ministry of Justice has not conducted an assessment of outcomes of hearings depending on whether video was used. Outcomes of hearings are a matter for the judiciary. HMCTS keeps parents and carers informed of hearing dates and times.
The Ministry of Justice has not conducted an assessment of Youth Offending Teams’ ability to fulfil their statutory duties depending on whether a video link was used, but any decision to use a video link would be taken following consultation with the Youth Offending Team.