New Youth Criminal Law Panel to improve access to justice for young people

We're working to ensure vulnerable Albertans have access to consistent high quality legal representation no matter where they live.

Communications and Public Relations
January 15, 2021

In the coming months, Legal Aid Alberta will establish the province’s first Youth Criminal Law Panel to help ensure vulnerable young Albertans have access to high quality legal representation no matter where they live.

The panel – to launch in late spring – will be made up of LAA roster lawyers from across the province who have demonstrated interest or experience in youth criminal law, and who want to make a difference in the lives of young people.

LAA staff lawyers in Edmonton and Calgary will still represent youth who face criminal charges. However, if one of LAA’s staff lawyers doesn’t represent a young person, panel lawyers will be first in line when the certificate is offered to the roster. Roster lawyers who aren’t on the panel may still be offered youth files, but only if we can’t find a panel lawyer to help the client.

Why the panel matters
Youth criminal law has many special rules and young people who face criminal charges often have unique needs that require specialized assistance from their lawyers. We’re improving access to justice for young Albertans by ensuring they are paired with a lawyer who understands youth justice issues and who is especially interested in helping vulnerable youth.

Who should apply?
If you’re a roster lawyer with a criminal defence practice and you want to expand your youth practice, panel membership offers a more consistent stream of these certificates. Membership will also help you stay current and keep your skills fresh in a niche area of defence practice.

Lawyers will be selected for the panel based on their interest, aptitude, and experience in criminal law and youth law. We’ll also be looking for lawyers with a demonstrated interest in helping vulnerable young people.

When to apply
Applications will open in the spring. Stay tuned for more information.

Youth law webinars

A lawyer sits at his desk referencing a book and working on a computer.

Want to learn more about the panel? Interested in applying? Or do you just want to brush up on youth law issues?

LAA is offering several informative lunchtime webinars in February for roster lawyers to learn more about the panel and gain some knowledge about youth law that could enhance their application.

We’ll be discussing topics such as youth bail, special sentencing principles for youth, and the Youth Criminal Justice Act’s rules surrounding privacy and access to youth records.

Webinar schedule and registration

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