Extrajudicial Measures

In Depth 1

What are extrajudicial measures?
Extrajudicial measures are processes other than court proceedings. They are used to deal with a youth who has broken the law. Examples of extrajudicial measures include:

  • Police warnings
  • Referrals to community programs
  • Crown cautions

Extrajudicial measures also include "extrajudicial sanctions." Extrajudicial sanctions usually provide for conditions that the young offender must follow.

Why does the YCJA provide for extrajudicial measures?
Measures outside the court process can provide effective responses to less serious youth crime. For example, a police warning for a minor first offence may be determined to be a sufficient reprimand and a deterrent to further offences.

What principles govern the use of extrajudicial measures?
Part 1: Section 4 of the YCJA sets out the principles that should be considered when using extrajudicial measures. Extrajudicial measures:

  • Are often the most appropriate and effective way to address youth crime.
  • Allow for effective and timely interventions focused on correcting offending behaviour.
  • Are presumed to be adequate to hold a young person accountable if the young person has committed a non-violent offence and has not previously been found guilty of an offence.
  • Should be used in all cases where they are adequate to hold a young person accountable, even if the young person has previously been dealt with by extrajudicial measures or has previously been found guilty of an offence, as long as they're adequate to hold the young person accountable.

What is the presumption in regard to extrajudicial measures?
The normal response to youth crime should be to look at extrajudicial measures first before initiating the formal court process.

Note that extrajudicial measures are not limited to first time offenders only. The test of the measure in the case of a second or subsequent offence is to decide if it would be adequate to hold the youth accountable for that offence.

Are extrajudicial measures recorded?
Yes, the 2012 amendments to the YCJA included changes to the recording of extrajudicial measures. The police force is now required to keep a record of any extrajudicial measures that they use to deal with young persons. This will enable both officers and Crown to be aware of any previous attempts to apply extrajudicial measures. The record cannot be used for sentencing considerations, but can be used for charge approval or in the consideration of further extrajudicial measures.

What are the objectives of extrajudicial measures?
Part 1: Section 5 of the YCJA states that extrajudicial measures should:

  • Provide an effective and timely response to the offending behaviour
  • Encourage the repair of harm caused to the victim and the community
  • Encourage the involvement of families, victims and the community
  • Respect the rights of young persons
  • Be proportionate to the seriousness of the offence

A measure that repairs the harm done can often be the most meaningful consequence for the youth and can be effectively implemented outside the court process. An example might be:

Five kids are seen egging cars on the street.  The police are called to the scene and catch one boy.  He denies all knowledge of the incident and says he didn’t do it.  The police inform him that they will get his fingerprints from the egg shells.  He confesses and gives up the names of the other four kids.  They all agree to pay for the clean-up of the cars and to do 25 hours of community work.  They all complete all or at least half of the hours.  The police have used an extrajudicial measure so there is no recourse if the kids do not complete but at least they were held accountable for their actions in a case where it may have been very difficult to get enough evidence to convict.