The Youth Court Act 1993 (SA) establishes the Youth Court as a court of criminal and civil jurisdiction with powers conferred in accordance with the Young Offenders Act 1993 (SA), the Bail Act 1985 (SA), the Children and Young People (Safety) Act 2017 (SA), and any civil or criminal jurisdiction as conferred by any other Act [see Youth Court Act 1993 (SA) s 7].
In addition to these jurisdictions, the Youth Court may make, vary or revoke a non-association, place restriction or restraining order under the Criminal Procedure Act 1921 (SA) or an intervention order under the Intervention Orders (Prevention of Abuse) Act 2009 (SA), where the person for or against whom protection is sought is a child or young person [see Youth Court Act 1993 (SA) s 7(ba) and (c)].
The court’s judiciary consists of a Senior Judge of District Court who is the principal judicial officer of the court, as well as Judges of the District Court, Magistrates, judicial registrars and special justices [see Youth Court Act 1993 (SA) ss 9 and 10]. In practice there are two District Court Judges (the Senior Judge and another) and two Magistrates who preside over the Youth Court.
In relation to criminal proceedings, the Court may not impose a sentence of more than 3 years [see Youth Court Act 1993 (SA) s 14(2)], and a judicial registrar may not impose a sentence of detention [s 14(2a)]. A special justice may not hear and determine a major indictable offence, impose a sentence of detention or hear and determine any application relating to the care and protection of children or young people [s 14(3)]. If necessary, a judicial registrar or special justice may adjourn the question of sentence for hearing and determination by the Senior Judge or a Magistrate [s 14(5)].
The Registrar, a judicial registrar or a special justice may issue summonses and warrants, adjourn proceedings or exercise any procedural or non-judicial powers as assigned by the rules [see s 14(7)].