Conference Contribution Details
Mandatory Fields
Parkes A;
SLSA Conference, University of Sussex
Socio-Legal Studies Conference
Brighton, UK
Oral Presentation
Optional Fields
This paper will examine the nature and scope of Article 12 (the right of the child to be heard/participate) of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989 (CRC) and in particular, its overall contribution to the protection of children under Family Law since the CRC entered into force in 1990. Children are a vulnerable group in society, in respect of whom decisions are made on a daily basis in family law proceedings. It is submitted that, in order to ensure that fully informed decisions can be made in relation to children, their views must be taken into consideration. Models of best practice will be explored where the right of the child to participate directly and indirectly in family law proceedings is effectively ensured and facilitated in a systematic manner in accordance with Article 12(2). Indeed, the challenges that the implementation of Article 12 continues to pose to countries all over the world, including Ireland, in the context of such proceedings will be highlighted. In particular, common barriers to child participation in family law proceedings will be identified including the adoption of age limits in areas such as custody and access, adoption as well as medical decision-making. Furthermore, the suitability of the adversarial approach to family law proceedings will be addressed, identifying models of best practice which have adopted alternative approaches in this respect. Finally, taking on board the General Comment on Article 12 which was adopted by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in July 2009, this paper will conclude with suggestions for the way forward where children are both seen and heard in family law proceedings which concern them.