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SCC to Consider Impact of Youth on Section 7 Analysis

Today the Supreme Court of Canada granted leave to intervene to the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) in R. v. C.P.

One of the issues in the appeal is the constitutional validity of s.37(10) of the Youth Criminal Justice Act, SC 2002, c. 1 (YCJA). When an adult is convicted of a criminal offence and there is a dissenting judgment on a question of law at the court of appeal, the Criminal Code provides for an appeal as of right to the Supreme Court of Canada. Because of s. 37(10) of the YCJA, young people in similar circumstances are required to apply for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada. 

The appellant has challenged this law arguing, among other things, that it is discriminatory and infringes the section 7 right to life, liberty and security of the person in a manner inconsistent with the principles of fundamental justice. The appellant argues that the Supreme Court of Canada should recognize for the first time the principle of fundamental justice of enhanced procedural protections for young people in the criminal justice system. 

The BCCLA was granted leave to intervene to argue that section 37(10) is contrary to already established principles of fundamental justice including that laws not be arbitrary, overbroad or procedurally unfair. On the latter point, the BCCLA will argue that the factors that guide analysis of procedural fairness should include the characteristics of the affected individuals, in particular, the unique vulnerability and capacity for development of young persons. 

I have written about the special status of youth and section 7 of the Charter here

I am privileged to act for the BCCLA on this intervention along with Jessica Magonet, staff lawyer at the BCCLA.

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