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Youth court reform

The Youth Court of South Australia hears matters in relation to criminal offending, child protection, adoption and surrogacy. As part of the transforming criminal justice initiative, two pieces of legislation have passed Parliament relating to youth justice.

Statutes Amendment (Youth Court) Act 2016

The Statutes Amendment (Youth Court) Act 2016 commenced on 1 January 2017. The Act makes a number of changes that allow the Youth Court to operate in a more flexible manner. These changes allow magistrates to do more of the work of the Youth Court. The title of the principal judicial officer of the Youth Court has changed from Senior Judge to Judge


As part of the development of the Act, a  Statutes Amendment (Youth Court) Bill 2015 - consultation draft (PDF 63KB) was released in February 2015 for public comment. Feedback closed on 2 March 2015.

As a result of feedback received in the consultation process, several changes were made:

  • The consultation draft designated the Chief Magistrate as the principal judicial officer of the Youth Court. As a result of feedback received, this has been changed. The Act provides that the principal judicial officer will be appointed by proclamation, and will be either a District Court Judge or the Chief Magistrate.
  • Proposals to expand the circumstances in which a court other than the Youth Court could hear youth matters were not included in the Act.

Youth Justice Administration Act 2016

The Youth Justice Administration Act 2016 was passed by State Parliament in March 2016.

The new Act provides for a more streamlined legislative framework under which the Department for Communities and Social Inclusion (DCSI) Youth Justice Directorate may exercise its youth justice powers and functions.

In addition, the Act provides for the expanded use of home detention, allowing for longer sentences of home detention and a greater application of home detention by the Training Centre Review Board.

Access the Youth Justice Administration Act 2016 on the Legislation South Australia website.


A consultation draft of the Youth Justice Administration Bill 2016 was released for public comment, with feedback closing on 21 August 2015