Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Young People and the Law

LEVEL 03 - Years 2, 3, 4 in Modular Undergraduate Course


DEPARTMENT Youth and Community Studies

DESCRIPTION The core content of this study-unit builds upon the themes explored in previous units, particularly, in so far as the relationship between young people and the law is concerned. However, while in other related study-units, emphasis is made upon the problematic nature of this relationship, in this study-unit a wider scope is adopted and young people’s legal rights and entitlements are explored in depth and examined in relation to constitutional, criminal and civil law from both a historical and comparative perspective. The subject matter to be addressed will include juvenile justice, the care and protection of minors and young people, education rights and responsibilities, civil liability, legal representation, employment, and access to medical procedures and treatment. The rationale of a plethora of legislation that informs the subject matter at hand such as, the Juvenile Court Act (1980), the Children and Young Persons (Care Orders) Act (1980), the Refugees Act (2000), the Voluntary Organisations Act (2006), the Domestic Violence Act (2006) and the Education Act (1988), will be discussed and analysed and comparisons made to similar legal provisions in other countries and international conventions which focus on young people’s rights and entitlements.

Study-unit Aims

This study-unit is aimed at:
(a) introducing participants to various legal issues which may be encountered in their work with young people;
(b) familiarising participants with young persons’ legal rights and entitlements in Malta and abroad;
(c) enhancing participants' awareness on various Acts of Law and international conventions which relate directly to minors and young people;
(d) introducing participants to the basic precepts of legal philosophy;
(e) introducing participants to the functions, procedures, structure and role of the Courts of Law in Malta; and
(f) helping participants assess the degree of support and assistance they will be able to offer to young people within this field as prospective youth workers.

Learning Outcomes

1. Knowledge & Understanding:
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

(a) understand and identify the legal rights and entitlements of young people in relation to myriad issues and aspects;
(b) recognise and advocate the crucial role of youth work within the legal sector;
(c) understand how various acts of law and international conventions (such as the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice - "The Beijing Rules") conceptualise the privileged/special treatment and protection of minors and young people;
(d) comprehend the rationale and philosophy related to such legal provisions; and
(e) understand related court functions and procedures.

2. Skills:
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

(a) know young people's legal rights and entitlements and thus be able to advise young people accordingly;
(b) evaluate the development of such legal rights in Malta from a comparative, pan-European and international framework;
(c)assess strengths and weakness in existing legislation and the support structures in place with a view for service development and amelioration; and,
(d) assist court procedures directly involving young people and to take an active role in
multi-disciplinary teams involved in such cases.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings
(availability at the Library or otherwise is indicated against each entry)

Acker, J.R. and E. B. Acker. 2003. Two Voices on the Legal Rights of America's Youth. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth. (unavailable).
Goldson, B., and J. Muncie. 2006. Youth crime and justice : critical issues. London:Sage. (available).
Mizen, P. 2004. The Changing State of Youth. London: Palgrave Macmillan. (available).
Stephenson, M. 2007. Young people and offending : education, youth justice and social inclusion. Devon, UK: Willan. (available).
Waites, M. 2006. The Age of Consent: Young People, Sexuality and Citizenship London: Palgrave Macmillan. (unavailable).

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture and Independent Study

Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Examination (1 Hour) See note below Yes 100%
Note: Assessment due will vary according to the study-unit availability.


The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2020/1. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.