When charging a young person, the police may decide to take
no action, warn a young person or refer the young person
to a community program or agency rather than starting judicial
proceedings. In fact, the YCJA requires that they consider
Alternatively, a Crown prosecutor may make
a referral to Extra-Judicial Sanctions after the laying of a charge.
sanction imposed may simply be a “caution letter”
sent by a prosecutor to the young person and/or his guardian.
More often, however, the young person is required to meet
with a representative of the Ministry of the Solicitor General’s
Young Offender Branch and/or a Youth Justice Committee. Sanctions
are negotiated with the young person. If he or she complies
with the sanctions within the time allotted the charge is
not laid, or, if it has been laid already, it is withdrawn.
If the young person does not successfully complete the program,
judicial proceedings go forward.
For contact information about
local Extra-Judicial Sanctions administrators and Youth Justice
Committees, see the Alberta
- Young people who lack adult guidance
sometimes have problems keeping their appointments
and completing the
sanctions imposed. If you can, try to stay in touch with the client
and the local administrator of the Extra-judicial
Sanctions Program during the process. Social and youth workers at
the YCDO may be able to help you.
- There is a shortage
of community service work placements for young people
aged 12 to 15. You may wish
to ask that other sanctions be imposed on your client.
- In some cases a Youth Justice Court may
dismiss a charge even if there has only been partial completion
of the extra-judicial sanctions imposed (see: s.10(5)(b) of the Youth Criminal Justice Act).
- There is no finding of guilt when extra-judicial sanctions
are successfully completed. However, lawyers should be
careful when describing the extra-judicial sanctions to
a young person regarding the benefit of avoiding a criminal
record; it must be understood that the police maintain
a record of the offence and the referral to extra-judicial
sanctions for a period of time. This police record may
create difficulties in obtaining a security clearance in