Source: (2007) The National Association for Youth Justice. 7(1):21-35.

This paper presents findings from an ethnographic study, based on observing hearings and interviewing practitioners in the Youth Justice Division of the Magistrates’ Court in Hobart, Tasmania. Although there is a large academic literature by jurists on the philosophical principles, and social scientists on the attitudinal and institutional factors shaping court decisions, there have been few studies that examine what actually happens in the courtroom. This paper argues that much can be learnt about the collaborative nature of judicial work, the administrative side of decision-making (neglected by most studies) and the welfare values informing work in this court, through examining sentencing hearings.