Legal aid reductions have caused a crisis in the criminal justice system impacting the quality of representation and advice provided by lawyers. This paper is particularly concerned with the impact of these cuts on young people in the youth criminal justice system. The paper will examine how changes to the way in which defence lawyers are funded is having a damaging impact upon the experience of young people involved in the criminal justice system. The particular vulnerability of young people, coupled with the complexity of laws and procedures surrounding youth justice make it particularly concerning that the system is financially incentivising the provision of inadequate representation in the youth justice system. These issues will be considered in light of the standards set by the Council of Europe Guidelines on Child-Friendly Justice.