What is Youth Court?
The Court of Quebec is divided into three divisions: civil, criminal and penal, and youth. The Youth Division of the Court of Quebec can hear the following:
- all cases involving the security or development of a child under 18 years of age;
- adoption cases;
- applications concerning child custody, when an adoption or youth protection matter is already before the Court;
- applications concerning the emancipation of a young person, when an adoption or youth protection matter is already before the Court;
- applications in which individuals between the ages of 12 and 18 are accused of offences under the Criminal Code and certain other federal statutes;
- applications involving individuals between the ages of 14 and 18 who are accused of offences under Québec legislation or regulations and municipal by-laws.
What is an appeal & can you appeal a decision made by the Youth Division?
An appeal is a proceeding in which a judge’s decision is challenged by one of the parties when they believe there has been an error in the judgment. An appeal is not a second chance for dissatisfied parties on matters already decided, but rather to correct an error in the judge’s appreciation of the facts or the law.
As mentioned in section 99 of the Youth Protection Act, any decision or order of the tribunal rendered under the authority of this Act (such as the Youth Division of the Court of Quebec) can be appealed to the Superior Court in the judicial district where the decision or order of the tribunal was rendered, unless the Court decides otherwise. But keep in mind, appeals are granted on a case-by-case basis according to the discretion of the tribunal.
Who can appeal this decision?
The Youth Protection Act states that the appeal may be brought by the child, his parents, the director of youth protection, the Commission, the Public Curator, the Attorney General or any party in the first instance if they wish to have it re-examined by a higher court (see section 101).
The Process for Filing an Appeal
There is a step-by-step process which must be followed when filing an appeal (see sections 99 to 114 of the Youth Protection Act).
A notice of appeal must be joined together with proof of service or notification to the respondent and brought to the office of the Court within 30 days of the date on which the first instance decision was recorded in writing and/or communicated, whichever is later. This is a strict time limit, but nonetheless, the Court can authorize the appeal in exceptional cases; if the party has a reasonable chance of success or if it was impossible for that party to act any sooner.
When filing your appeal, make sure the following elements are included: a description of the parties, the conclusions of the decision to be appealed, the grounds for appeal, the conclusions sought, the name of the district in which the decision was rendered and the date thereof.
As mentioned earlier, the appeal is heard and decided at the discretion of the tribunal. In deciding the appeal, the Court may maintain or quash the initial decision appealed, make the decision that the tribunal should have made in the first place, or make any decision it considers appropriate. This judgement is enforceable.
The process for filing an appeal will often require advice from a lawyer. However, keep in mind that any decision that is made must be in the best interest of the child above all.
For more information:
Youth Protection Act (see section 99 and onward)
Section 83 – Jurisdiction of Youth Division
Court of Quebec, Youth Division
The Court System of Quebec Explained