Children who appear in court to answer charges are "being left to flounder" because they do not understand what is going on, the head of an inquiry into youth justice said.
Lord Carlile hit out at the British justice system for its "disengagement and lack of comprehension" with young people. He said:
Too often children are being left to flounder in court with little understanding of what is happening to them.
Nowhere is this disengagement and lack of comprehension more obvious than in the Crown Court.
Even with determined special measures to make the court more child-friendly, there is strong evidence that an appearance in the Crown Court for a child is a negative and terrifying experience.
Where possible, children should not be taken before a court, and Crown Court appearances for under-18s should be the rare exception.
More top news
Police shut down roads and evacuated homes near the suburban embassy as they attended to the report of a "suspicious item".
Kurds of all ages inked their fingers at the ballot box as they cast their vote in a historic and controversial independence referendum.
Prince Harry and his girlfriend Meghan Markle have been pictured together for the first time at an official event.