Juvenile Justice

11 Important Features of Juvenile Justice System Act 2018 & its Background

This article describes Juvenile Justice System Act 2018 in layman approach by avoiding legal jargons. The Juvenile Justice System Act 2018 is a critical legislative framework in Pakistan aimed at ensuring the fair and compassionate treatment of children in conflict with the law. Vibrant civil society of Pakistan lobbied and spearheaded to initiate this important piece of legislation for rehabilitation of young people in conflict with law. Its most most impressive part is provision of diversion for rehabilitation instead of prison.

The Act upholds the principles of child rights and seeks to rehabilitate juvenile offenders.


The background of the Juvenile Justice System Act 2018 in Pakistan is rooted in the need to reform the treatment of children in conflict with the law. Prior to the enactment of this legislation, the treatment of juvenile offenders was a matter of concern as they were often subjected to harsh and punitive measures within the criminal justice system.

Before the implementation of the Act, juvenile offenders in Pakistan were primarily dealt with under the outdated and inadequate Juvenile Justice System Ordinance (JJSO) 2000. The JJSO 2000 lacked comprehensive provisions for the protection, Diversion Programs, welfare, and rehabilitation of children involved in criminal activities. Instead, it focused on punitive measures rather than addressing the underlying causes of juvenile delinquency.

Following are some of the most important features of Juvenile Justice System Act 2018.

1. Age, Definition and Protection of Children

The Act defines a child as a person below the age of 18 years, ensuring age-appropriate treatment for juvenile offenders.

It emphasizes the protection of children’s rights throughout the judicial process.

2. Diversion and Non-Institutional Measures

The law encourages diversion and non-institutional measures to prevent children from entering the formal justice system.

Diversion programs aim to address underlying issues and reintegrate juvenile offenders back into society.


3. Establishment of Juvenile Justice Committees

The Act mandates the formation of Juvenile Justice Committees at the district level.

These committees oversee the implementation of juvenile justice policies and ensure the best interests of the child are considered.


4. Right to Legal Representation and Fair Trial

Juvenile offenders have the right to legal representation and a fair trial.

The Act ensures that children have access to legal aid and are treated with dignity and respect during court proceedings.


5. Juvenile Detention Centers and Conditions

The law sets standards for juvenile detention centers, ensuring safe and supportive environments for incarcerated children.

Detention is considered a last resort, and alternatives to imprisonment are encouraged.


6. Emphasis on Rehabilitation and Reintegration

The Act prioritizes rehabilitation and reintegration programs for juvenile offenders.

Efforts are made to address the root causes of offending behavior and provide educational and vocational opportunities for the child’s successful reintegration into society.


7. Confidentiality and Privacy

The law emphasizes the confidentiality and privacy of juvenile offenders’ personal information and court proceedings.

This safeguard protects children from stigmatization and discrimination.


8. Role of Social Welfare Department

Social Welfare Department play a crucial role in the implementation of the Act.

They provide support and services for juvenile offenders and their families to facilitate rehabilitation.


9. Training and Sensitization

The Act calls for training and sensitization of law enforcement officers, judges, and stakeholders on juvenile justice principles and child rights.

This ensures a better understanding of the unique needs of children in conflict with the law.


11. Monitoring and Evaluation

The Act includes provisions for regular monitoring and evaluation of the juvenile justice system’s effectiveness.

This helps identify gaps and areas for improvement in the implementation of the Act.



The Juvenile Justice System Act 2018 represents a significant step towards ensuring a child-friendly and rights-based approach to juvenile justice in Pakistan.

By focusing on rehabilitation and protection, the Act aims to build a more compassionate and inclusive society for the well-being of its children.

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