Book Chapter Details
Mandatory Fields
Lydia Bracken Conor O'Mahony
2020 Unknown
European Yearbook on Human Rights 2020
The Child’s Right to Family Life: Shifting Sands and Social Sciences
Optional Fields
Family law; family forms; children's rights; assisted reproduction; marriage equality
Th e right to family life has long been viewed as an important right in European human rights law. However, since children were traditionally not seen as independent rights-holders, the right to family life across Europe tended to be asserted by parents in relation to their children and was therefore predominantly seen as a right of parents . In the three decades since the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), the increasing emphasis on children’s rights has seen the right to family life being viewed as having independent implications for children, bringing a child-centred emphasis to debates concerning issues such as formal recognition of family ties and contact with parents and siblings. However, the danger of a paternalistic approach remains. When combined with the best interests principle, the right to family life has the potential to be deployed as a smokescreen to advance the interests or preferences of adults. In such circumstances, social science scholarship on family life can enrich our understanding of the interplay between the right to family life and the best interests principle , but there are also dangers that it can be misused or even weaponised in legal processes. Th is contribution explores the evolution of the child’s right to family life and the role that social science research can play in delineating the parameters of the right. It examines the benefits and risks associated with relying on social science research for that purpose, focusing particularly on the challenges faced by ‘new’ families who do not have the benefit of large-scale, longitudinal research concerning their family functioning.
Philip Czech, Lisa Heschl, Karin Lukas, Manfred Nowak and Gerd Oberleitner
Grant Details