Advanced Diploma in Juvenile Justice

(Course now available via blended learning from 2016)

The Council of Europe and the United Nations have emphasised the importance of specialist training and knowledge of all individuals working with children involved in the criminal justice system. This specialist training is required in light of the myriad of vulnerabilities of children involved in criminal justice proceedings and the separate laws and procedures governing the treatment of these children. The Advanced Diploma in Juvenile Justice at King’s Inns is the first of its kind to be delivered by a professional law school in Ireland. This part–time programme focuses on the substantive law and salient legal issues concerning children involved in the criminal justice system. Predominately concerned with juvenile offending, the programme also addresses the role of the child as a witness in criminal justice proceedings. The Programme has a strong practical focus with a number of guest lectures from individuals working with children in different areas of the criminal justice system in Ireland.

From October 2016, this programme will be available via blended learning, with most lectures recorded to facilitate participation from students who might find attendance in person difficult due to work, location or personal reasons.  

Programme and Learning Outcomes

This Diploma provides participants with a comprehensive practical knowledge of the juvenile justice system in Ireland. Substantive lectures allow students to develop an in–depth understanding of the legal provisions; policies; emerging trends; research; current academic discourse and accepted best practice in the area of juvenile offending. The role of the child as a witness in criminal justice proceedings and the salient legal principles and issues pertaining to same are also addressed. These substantive lectures are complemented by a number of guest lectures which allow participants to acquire a practical in–depth knowledge of the issues facing defence lawyers, prosecutors, Judges, An Garda Síochána, members of juvenile detention facilities, leading academics and organisations in the area of juvenile justice.

Course Content

  • Children and the Criminal Justice System in Ireland: Child offenders and child witnesses
  • The Children Act 2001
  • International Standards of Best Practice & The Children Act 2001
  • Young Offenders & An Garda Síochána: Interaction, Impact and the Importance of Diversion
  • The Children Court: Key Concepts, Procedural Principles and Continuing Concerns
  • Accounting for the Legal Capacity of the Child: Key Skills for Legal Practitioners in representing and cross–examining Children
  • Children as Witnesses: Key Legal Principles and Issues regarding child witnesses in Ireland.
  • Children & Serious Crimes: The Trial of Children as Adults in Ireland – Implications for the Fair Trial Rights of the Child
  • Punishment of Juveniles: Restorative Justice and Alternatives to Detention
  • Children in Custody: Current Trends, Practices and On–going Concerns
  • Restorative Justice and Young Offenders
  • Growing Up: The On–going Concerns for Key Stakeholders working with children in the Criminal Justice System.

Course Delivery

Delivery is in part–time mode through the medium of lectures presented primarily by a practitioner and researcher in the area of juvenile justice, Ms Sarah Jane Judge. The course will take place in two–hourly sessions over 24 weeks on Wednesday evenings from 6–8pm.

There will be guest lectures from individuals with specialist knowledge and experience of juvenile justice in Ireland. These will include contributions from senior members of the Law Library, and those involved in the administration of juvenile justice including apprehension, supervision and detention and agencies involved in preparing and accompanying children as witnesses in criminal justice proceedings. The course also includes a visit to Oberstown, which past students have described as invaluable. 

Course Start Date: Wednesday 19 October 2016.

Who should attend

The Advanced Diploma in Juvenile Justice is targeted at those who work with, or wish to work with young people in a variety of roles within the juvenile justice area in Ireland. These include, but are not limited to, members of the judiciary, practising barristers and solicitors, youth workers, youth advocates, youth agencies, members of An Garda Síochána, civil servants, law reformers and academics.


Fees can be viewed here

How to apply 

Applications should be emailed to or sent to Admissions, The Honorable Society of King’s inns, Henrietta Street, Dublin 1.

Applications are made here.

Lead Lecturer 

  • Sarah Jane Judge BL

Lecturers/Guest Speakers

  • Supt. Collette Quinn, Director, Garda Diversion Programme
  • Fr. Peter McVerry
  • Dr Rhonda Turner, Our Lady’s Children Hospital, Crumlin
  • Andy Bray NUIM
  • Una Doyle, Probation Service
  • Miriam Delahunt, BL 


Testimonials from Past Students 

Ian Power

”The Advanced Diploma in Juvenile Justice is an excellent primer for anyone working in, or interested in, youth justice. The diploma challenges participants to apply international best practice standards to the Irish youth justice system and our own individual practice. The diversity of practitioners represented in the class ensures lively and informed class discussions and debates. The course material is comprehensive, and the lecturer is expert, engaging and approachable. I really enjoyed the diploma and would highly recommend it.” (Class of 2013–14)

Ian Power is Executive Director of and President of the National Youth Council of Ireland.

Juvenile Liaison Officer

”I have found the Advanced Diploma in Juvenile Justice at King’s Inns to be an extremely well devised course with detailed content and beneficial contributions from guest speakers, always relevant to the subject matter, throughout. In addition to providing students with an opportunity to meet with others from a similar background or with an interest in juvenile justice, the course provided a forum for students, speakers and lecturers to share their experiences and knowledge. It has undoubtedly aided my personal development in my role as a Juvenile Liaison Officer in An Garda Síochána.”

Juvenile Liaison Officer, An Garda Siochana