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Youth justice

Module information>

Academic Direction
UCL, Queen Mary University of London
Modes of Study

The course involves an in depth analysis of the theory and practice of law as it applies to children and young people who offend. Youth justice law encompasses the legislation, processes and institutions involved in the treatment of children accused of committing criminal offences. Due to the specific needs and circumstances of children, youth justice forms a field of law which is distinct from the regular adult criminal justice system. The course will provide you with a rich and deep insight into this subject, with an overview of youth justice at a local (England and Wales) legal level, as well as that at the supranational (European Union and Council of Europe) level and on the international (United Nations) stage.

Module A: Introduction to youth justice: history and theory


  • History of youth justice
  • The welfare and retributive models
  • The restorative model

Module B: Youth justice law in England and Wales I: the internal dimension


  • Definitions, trends and youth justice legislation
  • Sentencing young offenders
  • Challenges and proposals for reform

Module C: Youth justice law in England and Wales II: the external dimension


  • Definitions, trends and international youth justice law
  • Sentencing young offenders
  • Challenges and proposals for reform

Module D: Comparative youth justice law


  • The Nordic social democratic model
  • The liberal Anglo-Saxon model
  • The Western European model


Each module will be assessed by a 45-minute unseen written examination.


It is strongly recommended you attempt the modules in order.

How to apply

You can apply to study a module individually as a standalone unit or as part of a Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma or Master of Laws qualification. (In either scenario, they must be studied in order.)

These modules also contribute towards the following specialist pathways for Laws:

  • Common Law
  • Criminology and Criminal Justice
  • Family Law

Apply via Postgraduate Laws.