4 July, 16

Youth

At GT Stewart we believe that representing children who find themselves caught up in the criminal justice system is one of the most important things that we do. We have such commitment to this area of law that we recognise it as a distinct area of the criminal law, which requires a specialist department made up of lawyers who have developed the expertise required to represent young people effectively.

Greg Stewart, the principal solicitor at the firm, is a recognised expert in representing young people and is a member of the Law Society Criminal Law Committee, with specific responsibility for Youth Justice. He has been involved in some of the leading trials involving young people in recent years and has a reputation for obtaining excellent results. As a consequence of his knowledge and experience in this area, Greg was asked to give oral evidence to the Carlile inquiry into youth justice and also the Lord Taylor review of youth justice. Greg is also an advisory board member at the Youth Justice and Legal Centre.

The head of our youth department is solicitor Melanie Stooks who has been representing young people since she qualified in 1998. She leads a team of lawyers who frequently attend police stations, youth courts and Crown Courts, representing clients charged with a range of different offences. Melanie has a particular expertise in representing vulnerable young defendants and the firm is on the National Autistic Society list of recommended solicitors. We have also contributed to the Working Group for Advocacy Training for Sexual Offences and Vulnerable Witnesses and Defendants in the hope of ensuring that young and vulnerable defendants are represented by advocates with the appropriate level of expertise. The firm has also developed strong links with the children’s charity Just for Kids Law who have an office based at our Camberwell Green branch.

Young people who have instructed GT Stewart can rest assured that they will be represented by lawyers that have been specifically trained in this area, and who have the detailed knowledge and understanding that is essential in this area.

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