Children’s Right to Child Friendly Justice

23 aug 2018 09:00 23 aug 2018 10:30 ENG

Participants/introductions by: Tarja Pösö (Tampere University), Kenneth Burns (University College Cork), Katre Luhamaa (UiB), Staffan Höjer (University of Gothenburg), Conor O’Mahony (University College Cork), Julia Sloth-Nielsen (Leiden University) and The Pro’s (Change Factory). Moderators: Jenny Krutzinna and Marit Skivenes (UiB)

Courts, traditionally oriented towards parental rights and presumptive autonomous individuals, are often criticized for not focusing on children’s interests, rights and competencies. Children, who are at the centre of cases relating to them (child custody, child protection, juvenile offenders), are often not engaged as agents in the decision-making process. Reports from children and young people regarding their experiences of the justice system (criminal, family and child protection courts), found a high degree of mistrust. Shortcomings such as “intimidating settings, lack of age-appropriate information and explanations, a weak approach to the family as well as proceedings that are either too long or, on the contrary, too expeditious” were just some of the deficits highlighted by the Council of Europe.

The Convention on the Rights of the Child, article 12, states that “Children shall be provided the opportunity to be heard in any judicial and administrative proceedings affecting the child, either directly, or through a representative or an appropriate body.” Further, the Guidelines on Child Friendly Justice (Council of Europe, 2010) underscore the necessity of skills and competencies of judiciary staff. But what does it mean to be heard? Can children’s rights capacity be improved through empowerment and advocacy?

This event is free and open to all and forms part of the Bergen Exchanges on Law and Social Transformation. For more information: https://www.lawtransform.no/event/childrens-right-to-child-friendly-justice/