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Access To Justice In Protection Of Young People In Quebec: The Current Status and Recommendations from those Primarily Concerned – The Children

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  19 November 2022

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Summary

For me, having access to justice means being heard

– Sarah, 14 years of age, interviewed for this research

INTRODUCTION

Access to justice is a substantial issue, bringing up numerous ramifications and interpretations. Here is what children think about it:

It‘s for upholding our rights – our right to participate, the right to express ourselves, to be listened to. For the judge to really listen and notice, and take that into account, more than anything. (Anthony, 13 years of age.)

It‘s having access to the court. It‘s not right for there to be a court and you aren‘t there. You have to be there, speaking to the judge. You‘re obliged to be there, they‘re talking about you, about your future. (Pavel, 13 years of age.)

Children associate access to justice with being heard. This contribution is therefore a qualitative analysis of the effective application of the right to participate of the nine children queried on the legal proceedings concerning them.

Pursuant to the Youth Protection Act (YPA), children have a right to participate in decision-making and in the choice of any measures concerning them, and to be advised and represented by a lawyer. Nevertheless, in practice, some children believe their right to participate has not been implemented.

When questioned about the role of the office of the Director of Youth Protection (DYP), the children responded as follows. Allisson, 10 years of age, said, ‘ The role of the [DYP] is to help us, the children – and also the adults – to change, to do better. ‘Pavel, 13 years of age, said, ‘It’ s true that basically they [the DYP] want to help children, but they do not take what they say into account.’

Is Pavel‘s perception shared by his peers? What factors could contribute to such a perception? In concrete terms, to what extent and in what way has the right of these children to participate in proceedings concerning them been implemented or is being implemented?

Type
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Information
Children's Access to Justice
A Critical Assessment
, pp. 211 - 224
Publisher: Intersentia
Print publication year: 2022

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