Source: (1999) Discussion Paper 179, Project 106. Pretoria, South Africa: South African Law Commission.

This lengthy paper consists of a proposal for a cohesive child justice system in South Africa. The aim of the system would be to hold young people accountable for their actions while at the same time keeping them from entering deeper into the criminal justice system. Background to the paper includes a situation analysis, with particular reference to the context following the demise of apartheid and the emergence of a call for a comprehensive juvenile justice system. The paper proceeds with an overview of the proposed child justice system, and a comparative survey in relation to juvenile justice in other countries (New Zealand, Uganda, and Scotland). Principles and framework for the proposed system are articulated (reference is made to international declarations and guidelines on juvenile justice). On the basis of all of this, specifics of the system are detailed in the following areas: the issue of age in relation to criminal responsibility; pre-trial procedures pertaining to police powers and investigation; assessment and referral; preliminary inquiry or hearing before a magistrate; court procedures; sentencing; review, appeal, and monitoring systems; legal representation; and confidentiality and expungement of records. Specific recommendations are made, and the paper concludes with a proposed draft bill.