Source: (1999) Research Paper 99/40. London: House of Commons Library, Home Affairs Section.This research paper provides background information for the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Bill. At the time the paper was written, the Bill had completed its passage through the House of Lords and was due for debate in the House of Commons. The Bill would enable a new sentencing disposal for the youth court. Specifically, this sentencing disposal would make possible referral to a youth offender panel for young offenders convicted for the first time. The primary aim of the youth offender panel would be to prevent re-offending. The Bill would also make a number of changes to the law concerning the giving of evidence in criminal proceedings.