10 OCT 2005

(Court of Appeal; Thorpe, Latam and Wall LJJ; 26 May 2005) [2005] 2 FLR 1011

Held that three young men aged 17, 15 and 13 should be afforded separate representation. They were educated, articulate and reasonably mature and it would be unthinkable to exclude them from knowledge of and participation in legal proceedings affecting them so fundamentally. The case provides a timely opportunity to recognise the growing acknowledgment of the autonomy and rights of children nationally and internationally. In order to safeguard rights under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989, Art 12 it is necessary to, in the case of articulate teenagers, to accept that the rights to freedom of expression outweigh the paternalistic judgment of welfare. Welfare nevertheless played a part in assessing the sufficiency of a child's understanding.

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