Source: Newsletter of the European Forum for Victim Offender Mediation and Restorative Justice. 3(3):4

In this article, Brian White surveys the status and operation of youth conferencing in Northern Ireland. The Justice (Northern Ireland) Act, which became law in July 2002, provides for a system of conferencing for young offenders. A youth conference is a meeting to consider how a child should be dealt with for an offense. In principle, a conference should result in a plan of action for dealing with the offense and the offender in accord with principles that include reparation, rehabilitation, and repair of relationships. In Northern Ireland, two types of conferences are possible: conferences that are diversionary, as requested by a prosecutor when the offender has admitted guilt and in place of a court prosecution; and conferences that are ordered by the court following a finding of guilt. Presently, youth conferencing is being tested in a number of localities. Subject to evaluation, it will eventually be extended to the rest of Northern Ireland.