Access to justice for children means that children, or their appropriate advocates where applicable, must be able to use and trust the legal system to protect their human rights. The legal system must provide children the means to obtain a quick, effective and fair response to protect their rights; the means to prevent and solve disputes; mechanisms to control the abuse of power; and all of this must be available through a transparent, efficient, accountable and affordable process. The importance of access to justice applies equally to children and adults, yet children’s rights in this area have long been neglected and ignored.
This report is the result of a research project scrutinising how the legal systems of 197 countries empower children to realise their rights or perpetuate the rights violations that they should combat. With the support of hundreds of lawyers and NGOs from around the world, a report was published for every country on earth setting out the status of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in national law; how the law treats children involved in legal proceedings; the legal means available to challenge violations of children’s rights; and the practical considerations when challenging violations using the legal system.
This research shows the way that national legal systems can be used to challenge violations of children’s rights and the ways that children can use the law to assert their own rights. It identifies where the law falls short and where legal systems are designed in ways that make it difficult or impossible to combat abuses of children’s rights.The good, the bad, the effective, the ineffective, the radical and the revolutionary ways that children can access justice around the world has been documentedand now this information should be used to promote their rights.