Listening to Children

04 SEP 2006

Nicholas Crichton, District Judge (Magistrates Courts), Inner London Family Proceedings Court, Family Justice Council member. At [2006] Fam Law 170 District Judge Crichton contributed a brief piece, 'Children's Involvement in Court', in which he spoke of the growing feeling that courts need to accommodate the wishes of children to be heard or to take ownership of some part of the proceedings in which decisions will be taken which will have an important bearing on their lives. A child is a citizen, no less because he or she is a minor. Article 12 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989 requires that a child who is capable of forming his own views has the right to express those views freely in all matters affecting him, and to be taken seriously. Article 13 accords to a child the right to freedom of expression. In Every Child Matters, Cm 5860 (Department for Education and Skills, 2003) the Government stressed the importance of involving children and young people and listening to their views. In this article District Judge Crichton sets out other examples of his experience of children coming to his court and what he believes he has learned from them. See October [2006] Fam Law 849 for the full article.

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