Civic Engagement

Rule of Law and Law Related Education

Active Civic Engagement, inclusive Democracy, volunteer-driven, and youth-led Global Youth Justice Movement has significantly scaled from a few dozen youth/teen/student/peer court and peer jury diversion programs in about ten (10) states, which involved a couple of thousand youth, to more than 2,000+ youth/teen/student/peer court diversion programs 12 Countries on 5-continents, involving more than 250,000+ youth each year.  Whether youth are involved as youthful offenders or youth volunteers, to include former youthful offenders — on thing is certain — all of these youth are learning about the “Rule of Law” and “Law Related Education” (LRE).

Both the Rule of Law and LRE empowers young people by providing practical information about law and the legal system.  They encourages youth to become effective, law-abiding citizens by promoting civic responsibility and community participation. It also helps young people develop more favorable attitudes toward adults by emphasizing contact with community resource people.   Their unique blend of content and strategies fosters the development of skills that are essential for positive youth development.

Students learn substantive information about their rights and responsibilities and practice cooperative learning and positive interaction with adults and each other.  The Rule of Law and LRE go beyond questions about who, what, when, and where.  They help young people answer questions about why.  Just as importantly, they responds to students who view the law as something that is remote, impersonal, or punitive.

Recent studies have indicated that youth participating in youth court as respondents and volunteers have improved attitudes toward authority and have increased knowledge of the justice system. These are traditional goals of law-related education.  Broadly, law-related education provides youth with active learning experiences that permit them to explore their rights and responsibilities under the law, confront and resolve disputes, and discuss and analyze public issues. It is through these undertakings that youth develop the lifelong skills all citizens need: to think critically; to gather, interpret, and act appropriately on information; and to participate effectively in a law-based society.

In youth/teen/student/peer court and peer jury diversion programs, volunteer youth and youthful offenders learn about the role of law in society and its application to themselves.  In addition, as key participants in the justice process, they have the opportunity to apply the law to real respondents, to analyze and argue cases, and to shape the legal process and its outcomes.  Participation in these efforts as youth opens the door to active civic involvement in a law-based society in their futures.  The expectation is that young persons will respond more readily as adults to their civic responsibilities, such as jury duty, community service, and voting —  irregardless of what country they reside.

Free Resources

The “Rule of Law” and “Law-Related Education” Publications, Resources and Manuals on Youth/Teen/Student/Peer Court and Peer Jury listed below are Public Domain and Free, as they were developed with Tax Payer Dollars through the Executive Branch of the United States Government.  They may be used, reproduced, and distributed without permission.

Youth Cases for Youth Courts:  A Desktop Guide

Guide to Typical Offenses Handled by Youth/Teen/Student/Peer Courts

By American Bar Association and U.S. Department of Justice

72 Pages

Download Free

Youth Courts:  Young People Delivering Justice

Guidebook for Professionals Seeking to Improve Justice

By American Bar Association and U.S. Department of Justice

36 Pages

Download Free

Youth Court:  A Path to Civic Engagement

Public Policy Brief

By American Youth Policy Forum and U.S. Department of Justice

8 Pages

Download Free

Youth Court:  Training for Results

Technical Assistance Bulletin on Training Youth and Adults

By American Bar Association and U.S. Department of Justice

20 Pages

Download Free

Street Law for Youth Courts:  Educational Workshops

16 Lesson Plans for Youth Volunteers and Youthful Offenders

By Street Law and U.S. Department of Justice

325 Pages

Download Free

Giving Back:  Introducing Community Service Learning in Youth Courts

25 Lesson Plans for Improving Mandated Community Service

By Constitutional Rights Foundation and U.S. Department of Justice

107 Pages

Download Free

RESOLUTIONS by Leading Rule of Law and LRE International Organizations

Supporting the Global Youth Justice Movement

Subscribe Free

Global Youth Justice e-News on Rule of Law and LRE Diversion Programs