ASSOCIAZIONE ITALIANA DEI MAGISTRATI PER I MINORENNI E PER LA FAMIGLIA
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JUVENILE COURTS

JUVENILE COURTS

1 - Juvenile Courts (JCs) are specialized Courts that were established in 1934.

2 – Each Court has two professional judges and two lay judges, who are experts in human sciences.

3 – In Italy there are twenty-nine JCs that are set up under each of the twenty-six appeal court and three detached appeal courts divisions. There are about 1,000 magistrates , of wich  200 are professional magistrates while the others 800 are lay magistrates.

4 – Art. 3 of the Child’s Rights Convention (New York , 1989 ) states: “ In all actions concerning children, whether undertaken by public or private social welfare institutions, courts of law, administrative authorities or legislative bodies, the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration “. Italian JCs adhere to that principle.

5 - In the criminal sphere, JCs try minors accused of crime. If the defendant is an adult at the time of the trial, he/she doesn’t to be tried in an adult criminal court.

Special criminal legislation for minors was passed in 1988.

In Juvenile Courts there are Offices of Public Prosecutors that make preliminary investigation when a minor is accused of a crime. As in the ordinary Code of Criminal Procedure there is a pre-trial judge, who holds a strictly impartial position and supervise the prosecution of the case at every step.

Juvenile Courts can sentence or acquit defendants, but can take also others kinds of decisions, such as:

- judicial pardon;

- probation;

- acquittal for minor crimes.

Minors cannot senteced to life. 

6 - In the civil sphere, JCs' competences deal with child protection in potential situations of prejudice or abandonment. Measures taken by the Courts may lead to parental power restriction, to child adoption or to the disciplining of the custody of children disputed between unmarried parents.

7 - In administrative sphere, JCs takes measures to rehabilitate juveniles angaged in illicit behaviourss (including prostitution).

8 – JCs work closely with social workers to obtain  information about children and their families ore for execution of protection orders.



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