This new title is the first dedicated practitioners' text to deal comprehensively with the rights of the child in the context of day-to-day practice within domestic jurisdiction.
It enumerates and discusses the law and practice of children's rights, with a view to facilitating the greater articulation and consistent application of these rights in day-to-day legal practice. The book contains chapters dealing with each of the key rights and their application within the domestic courts, as guaranteed by European and International instruments such as the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Rights of the Child: Law and Practice
provides a detailed reference text for legal practitioners dealing with and representing children and families in England and Wales. It examines fully the relevant case-law and appends the key legal instruments.
See also the companion volume Rights of the Child: Annotated Materials
This is essential reading for all child law practitioners including barristers, solicitors, social workers, CAFCASS officers, probation officers and the Youth Offending Service, local authorities, law students and academics.
It is no mean feat to write a textbook for domestic practitioners about the
relevance of the international law on children’s rights to their day to day work
in this country. After all, most of the relevant international instruments, and in
particular the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, have not
been directly incorporated or transformed into our domestic law. A child
cannot sue if her rights under that Convention have been breached. She cannot
even make a complaint to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the
Child. So why should a practitioner in the United Kingdom concern himself
with that or any other unincorporated Convention? Has he not got enough to
These questions can be answered on many levels. But the most compelling for
a practitioner is that without having somewhere to look up the latest learning
on children’s rights you may miss something important about a case. Take the
recent decision of the Supreme Court in ZH (Tanzania) v Secretary of State
for the Home Department  UKSC 4. There is no power to remove, expel
or deport British citizens from this country. Yet if a non-citizen parent is
removed, she may have no choice but to agree to take her children with her,
and if she does so her children will also have no choice. Their individual rights,
interests and views might not be taken into account. Until recently, this was all
taken for granted.
The Supreme Court held that the best interests of these children had to be a
primary consideration in assessing whether removing a parent would be a
disproportionate interference with the right of all the family members to
respect for their private and family lives, contrary to article 8 of the European
Convention on Human Rights. The European Court of Human Rights in
Strasbourg has given more and more weight to the Convention on the Rights
of the Child in recent years.
Article 3 of the Convention requires that in all
actions concerning children, whether undertaken by social welfare institutions,
courts of law, administrative authorities or legislative bodies, the best interests
of the child shall be a primary consideration. This does not mean that they
trump all other considerations. But it does mean that they must be considered
first and given great weight. Citizen children should not be deprived of their
right to live, grow up and be educated in their own country, culture and
language without very strong countervailing considerations. Nor should they
have to suffer for their parents’ misdeeds.
Article 3 has found its way into our domestic law in other ways. The United
Kingdom Borders Agency, for example, now has an explicit duty, under s 55 of
the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009, to discharge its functions
‘having regard to the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children
who are in the United Kingdom’.
So the message is: ‘think children’s rights’ and it may transform the case. And
where do you go to ‘think children’s rights’? Well this is a good place to start …
Supreme Court of the United Kingdom
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