A young person must have the opportunity to seek legal advice prior to a referral to a formal police caution or family conference. The Legal Services Commission provides a duty solicitor at most Youth Courts and the Youth Legal Service at the Adelaide Youth Court. The Youth Legal Service provides free legal advice and may represent children appearing in the Youth Court. The duty solicitor at the Youth Court will also advise and represent youths in custody who have been refused police bail. A lawyer is also available to represent children in child protection matters. An appointment should be made to see the duty solicitor well before the court date. Young people with other legal problems can get legal advice and apply for legal aid directly to the Legal Services Commission or consult a private lawyer or community legal centre.
If a young person is in doubt as to whether to plead guilty or not guilty, it is essential to obtain legal advice. The Duty Solicitor is often consulted in this situation. It is generally considered essential for a young person who pleads not guilty to have legal representation.
The content of the Law Handbook is made available as a public service for information purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice. See Disclaimer for details. For free and confidential legal advice in South Australia call 1300 366 424.