The Youth Court is a division of the District Court established pursuant to the Young Offenders Act 2007 and is presided over by District Court Judges. The Youth Court is established specifically for young offenders between the ages of 10 and 17 years.
The Youth Court has jurisdiction to hear criminal charges brought against any young person unless the charge is for an offence of a very serious nature and the circumstances are such that the young person should be tried as an adult.
Proceedings in the Youth Court may be conducted in a manner consistent with Samoan custom and tradition where this is determined appropriate by the Court. Moreover, proceedings in the Youth Court are closed to the general public and to the Media unless the Court determines otherwise. There is a limited group of persons who may be allowed into Youth Court proceedings.
The Youth Court is a specialised court which deals with young offenders between the ages of 10 to 17. All indictable trials must be presided over by a Judge of the District Court. The court hears matters in relation to criminal offending governed under the Young Offenders Act 2007.
All Youth Court hearings are closed to the public. The only persons allowed into court are:
- officers of the court
- parties to the proceedings and their legal representatives
- witnesses while giving evidene
- a guardian of the child
- an alleged victim