While most lawyers are aware of criminal records for adults, youth records are a less well-known area of the justice system. For those looking to better understand how youth records continue to affect individuals into adulthood, the Ontario Bar Association Child & Youth Law and Criminal Law Sections held a virtual panel discussion on November 9, 2022 entitled “A Comprehensive Look at Youth Records in Adulthood”.
The panellists, Justice Brock Jones, of the Ontario Court of Justice in Toronto, Kuljit (Ko) Bhamra, of Ko Bhamra Criminal Law Office in London, and Emma Rhodes, a Child & Youth lawyer in Toronto, spent the evening discussing the types of issues lawyers should be attuned to when working with individuals who have youth records. Convening the panel and guiding the discussion were Amanda Ross, partner at Cooper, Sandler, Shime & Bergman LLP, and Jane Steward, litigator with Justice for Children and Youth.
For those who are new to or unfamiliar with the world of youth records, it is important to understand that the Youth Criminal Justice Act (“YCJA”) creates a separate scheme for youth records that continues to be relevant after a youth has turned eighteen. The panellists’ collective key message was that when lawyers encounter youth records, they must be vigilant and proactive to ensure that youth records were accessed and disclosed lawfully.