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children panel
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  Is justice for the community, justice by the community? The Children’s Panel   Professor Stephen Phillips West Dunbartonshire Children’s Panel   Is justice for the community, justice by the community? ãThe short answer should be ‘yes’ for the Children’s Panel if the aspirations of the Kilbrandon committee have been realised. ã The Panel is made up of trained volunteers from the community, drawn from the whole of the community, and administer ‘justice’ on behalf of the community. ãThe Children’s Hearing System has been going since April 1971 largely unchanged which might be a good indicator that it works. ãFamilies’ view –  a common reality.  Community Justice  –  What is Justice?   ã Fairness, rightness, just conduct, reward for virtue and punishment for wrong doing, balancing the nature of wrong doing with the punishment chosen. ã Justice concerns the proper ordering of things and persons within a society. ã Justice requires according individuals or groups what they actually deserve, merit, or are entitled to. ã What is right is what has the best consequences (usually measured by the total or average welfare caused). So, the proper principles of justice are those which tend to have the best consequences. ã Justice is created by public, enforceable, authoritative, rules and injustice is whatever those rules forbid. ã Justice is derived from the mutual agreement of everyone concerned……including equality and absence of bias.   ã Justice is a form of fairness. What is the proper/fair distribution? Equal, meritocratic, according to social status, according to need? ã Justice demands equality of opportunity and for equality of outcome.    Juvenile ‘justice’ system   ãThe Panel frequently referred to as ‘Scotland’s Juvenile Justice System’ (and Welfare System)  –   ‘justice’ for whom and what do we understand by  justice in this context? ã Justice for the child and family? ã Justice for the Community? ã Justice for the victim in the event of a crime? ã  Accepting that Byres Road man/woman for the most part have never heard of ‘the Panel’ (a major concern) justice as in ‘juvenile justice’ would mean receiving just deserts and inevitably in the context of punishment for an offence. (If by chance they have heard of ‘the Panel’ then it is the soft option). ãKilbrandon used the term ‘children in trouble’ and Byres Road man would again think of children who have broken the rules. If we asked Byres Road man to consider ‘a ship in trouble’ then his circle of reference widens and thinks of ships which has lost direction, lost power, foundering etc. much more a metaphor to describe the families and young people coming before the Panel. And of course as we will see soon this latter category is the largest.
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