Children's Court

Strategic innovations

The Children's Court aims to provide an efficient, fair and effective court service for children, families and the community of New South Wales. We are constantly working hard to improve our practices to achieve this aim.

Some of our recent innovations include:


Pilot Youth Koori Court at Parramatta Children's Court

The Children's Court has established a Youth Koori Court for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people. At this stage, the Youth Koori Court is operating as a 12 month pilot program and will be evaluated by researchers from the University of Western Sydney.

The Youth Koori Court is a deferred sentencing option that aims to engage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people in the Court process. This option allows the young person to engage with Elders and services to identify and address the factors that have led to their commission of offences and to demonstrate that they are ready, willing and able to make changes.

In accordance with the establishment of the Youth Koori Court, the Children's Court has prepared a Practice Note No. 11 [PDF 328kb] and a fact sheet [PDF 400kb].


Use of audiovisual link facilities for weekend bail courts for juveniles

The Children's Court utilises audiovisual link facilities at weekends to ensure that all juveniles throughout the state who are arrested and not granted bail by police are brought before a magistrate at the earliest opportunity.  This innovation also means that lawyers are always available to represent juveniles at weekend bail hearings.


Expansion of alternative dispute resolution in care and protection cases

The Children's Court has introduced changes to the way it conducts alternative dispute resolution in care and protection cases following recommendations by The Honourable James Wood AO QC in his 2008 report of the 'Special Commission of Inquiry into Child Protection Services in NSW'. This program allows the parties to agree on action that should be taken be taken in the best interests of the child or young person concerned. 

In February 2010 the Children's Court adopted a new model of dispute resolution. Dispute Resolution Conferences are a form of conciliation conducted by Children's Registrars who are legally qualified and trained in alternative dispute resolution techniques. At the same time, the Children's Court trialled an external mediation pilot at Bidura.  Both programs were then evaulated. 

The following transcripts provide further information about these programs.

Part 1 - Background information on the two Alternate Dispute Resolution programs. Transcript [PDF 191kb]

Part 2 - New model of Dispute Resolution Conference. Transcript [PDF 196kb]

Part 3 - External mediation pilot (the Bidura pilot) and the independent evaluation of both programs. Transcript [PDF 190kb]

Country care circuits

The Children's Court conducts permanent circuits in regional areas of NSW to allow specialist Children's Magistrates to deal with care and protection cases. Country care circuits operate in the Northern Rivers, Western, Mid North Coast and Riverina regions.


Docket system

Following the successful trial of a docket system in 2010 the Children's Court has adopted a modified form of docket system at Parramatta Children's Court. As far as practicably possible the same judicial officer is allocated to the Monday and Friday care and protection lists to ensure consistency in the management of cases prior to hearing and to reduce the time taken to finalise the case.