Thursday 1st September, 2022
This is the 18th webinar in the series aimed at developing greater knowledge and understanding of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). In its Concluding Observations on Australia’s 5th and 6th reports, the UN CRC Committee referred to previous recommendations on the need for the Government to ensure respect for the views of the child and called for the amendment of the Family Law Act of 1975 to provide all children, in accordance with their age and maturity, the opportunity to have their views heard in all matters concerning them. It also recommended “training and support to independent children’s lawyers so as to ensure that such lawyers have direct contact with the children they represent in the family courts.”
Children’s right to access to justice is not just a concern of lawyers or about courts. It includes thinking about child-friendly support for children to feel comfortable to report alleged rights violations; child-friendly remedies, including child-friendly complaints processes; and it includes child-friendly information and education for children about their rights and what they can do when their rights are violated. Children’s right to access justice is an essential safeguard of the rights, wellbeing and safety of all children.
Based on his expertise with the jurisprudence of the Committee and other international bodies, Professor Liefaard will discuss approaches to children’s access to justice at the international level. He will touch on the thinking about access to justice by the Committee and comment on the lack of prominence given to the issue in the Concluding Observations.
Professor Kilkelly will draw similarities between children’s access to justice in Australia and other jurisdictions and provide an outline of the ways this access has been promoted overseas. She will draw on her extensive experience with advancing children’s rights in detention to comment on best practice overseas. She will also discuss the best outcome for inquiries such as the current inquiry into child sexual abuse in institutional settings in Tasmania.
NOTE: At least half an hour will be allocated for questions and answers, and comments
Professor Ton Liefaard is Vice-Dean at the Law School and UNICEF Chair in Children’s Rights at Leiden University. He initiated the Leiden Children’s Rights Observatory, an open access, online platform for children’s rights commentaries on the jurisprudence of the Committee and other relevant international bodies.
Professor Ursula Kilkelly is at the School of Law, University College Cork. Her extensive publications address the legal implementation of the CRC, children’s access to justice and children’s rights in areas like healthcare, youth justice and detention and the arts.
Matthew Keeley is Director of Youth Law Australia (YLA), a national legal service dedicated to children and young people’s rights and access to justice. Based at UNSW Sydney, YLA advises many children and parents and advocates for children’s rights to receive an inclusive and safe education.