Teenagers - A Concise Guide to UK Law

The laws in the UK concerning young people, aged ten to eighteen, vary and there are different sentences that can be passed by the Courts . It is always best if you are aware of your rights and where you stand with to your actions.

  • If under ten years: you are not considered to be criminally responsible. This means that you cannot be taken to court and charged.
  • If older than ten: you can be arrested and are considered to be responsible for your actions. These cases are normally dealt in a youth court, unless charged with an adult.

Possible Youth sentences:

  • First charge and plead guilty - Referral Order. This is where the convicted has to meet with a panel and agree on how to repair any harm done and what can be done to stop re-offending.
  • Youth Rehabilitation Order - these are community sentences. Supervision meetings with a Youth Offending Officer, undertake education comply with a curfew complete unpaid work, Completing unpaid work like cleaning graffiti off walls and litter picking only applies to 16 and 17 year olds.
  • Criminal Behaviour Order - A court order to stop you going to a certain area or seeing certain people. This is an offence and if broken warrants an arrest and court proceedings will follow.
  • Detention and Training Orders in a young offenders institute can also be ordered for a minimum of 4 months for really serious offences.

The law and you:

  • At 12 you can see a 12A film unaccompanied
  • At 13 you can get a job (limited hours apply during the week because of education)
  • At 14 you can go to a pub and buy yourself a non-alcoholic drink
  • At 15 you can buy or rent a 15 rated film
  • At 16 you can have sex, gay or straight (providing your partner is also 16 or over and is consenting)
  • At 17 you can drive a car
  • At 18 you can buy alcohol

Know the law that affects you.

This article is created by a Paul Robinson Solicitors LLP “Brand Ambassador” who are students and unqualified. The article provides their views on the topic and does not necessarily deal with every important topic or cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not designed to provide legal or other advice and nor does it necessarily reflect the views of this firm