Some of the main sections of the Act, such as the extrajudicial measures, sentencing, and custody and supervision sections also start with a statement of purpose and principles. This helps to make sure that the law’s intentions are clear about the best way to respond to young persons as they move through the youth criminal justice system.
All people living in Canada have rights and freedoms under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Youth also have special legal rights guaranteed to them under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
On being arrested or detained, youth have the following legal rights, which must be told to them by the police:
A very important right for youth is their right to counsel. Counsel is another word for a lawyer. While this right is guaranteed in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, it is expanded for youth in the Youth Criminal Justice Act. The people who work in the legal system have to make sure that the youth’s right to counsel is protected at all stages of the youth justice process. The youth has to be told over and over that he or she has the right to a lawyer. This right to speak to a lawyer must be explained in plain language that a youth can understand. For example, during an arrest, the officer must tell the youth that he or she has the right to call a lawyer. The officer must also give the young person an opportunity to call a lawyer (section 25(2)).