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Separated Children in Judicial Proceedings Conference in Brussels 27/28 October 2016 - registration open

4 October 2016

Separated children in judicial proceedings event in Brussels hosted by the Committee of Regions.
Exploring the use and application of European and international mechanisms for the protection of vulnerable and separated children's rights



Brussels October 27/28 2016


The event will focus on the mechanisms at European and international level in cases concerning separated children. It will support legal professionals and organisations working with separated children in considering key issues, including:

1. Identifying and planning for issues arising in litigation concerning children who are separated from their parent(s) or at risk of separation: Understanding the legal, procedural and practical issues which arise in proceedings

2. From national to international: When to think of taking a case onwards to European or International mechanisms: how do these cases arise, with which actors?

3. Comparing and contrasting International Mechanisms of Recourses in Europe: ECtHR, ESC, OP3

4.  Ensuring a multi-disciplinary approach to ensuring proper outcomes can be achieved.    

Target Audience: Legal professionals & judges in Belgium and neighbouring countries, organisations involved in supporting separated children involved in litigation, professionals involved in multi-disciplinary child centred justice, organisations involved in international and European litigation, EU and regional actors involved in child friendly justice, children’s ombudspersons, legal academics

Intended Speakers: Judge Bianku (European Court of Human Rights), Mr Luc Van den Brande (Committee of the Regions), Bruno Van Obbergen (Flemish Children’s Commissioner), Margaret Tuite (European Commission), Benoit Van Keirsblick (DCI International), Nuala Mole (AIRE Centre), Ursula Kilkelly (UCC), Eric Van der Mussele (Chair of Flemish Youth Lawyer’s Association), Rebecca O Donnell (Child Circle), as well as judges & lawyers, organisations involved in landmark cases, social professionals & guardians.

Registration details:

Registration for this event is free. Provisional deadline for registration is October 20.  Please note that places are limited and that confirmation of places will be sent by email. Register online at

Event Location:

Logo for the European Union Committee of the Regions

Hosted by the Committee of the Regions,

Rue Belliard 101 - B-1040 Brussels, web:

For further information please contact: Rebecca O'Donnell (Child Circle) at and Alexandra Charwat-Pessler (AIRE Centre) at


This two day event will include:

  • Opening Remarks from Luc Van den Brande, Committee of the Regions & Belgian & European Perspectives on Child Centred Justice from the Flemish Children’s Commissioner, Bruno Vanobbergen


  • PRESENTATIONS & mutual learning exchange on separated children, child-centred justice & European & international avenues of recourse including:

  • Identifying the specific needs/rights of separated children in judicial proceedings. Ensuring children are heard children: An overview of the common vulnerabilities/issues for the different groups of separated children; what the European and international avenues of recourse have to offer to address these issues.

  • Focussing on European and international avenues of recourse: Outline of specific procedural issues with regard to the involvement of separated children in European and international fora, addressing issues such as: what type of cases concerning children go to these fora? How do you get cases to these fora?  Can children bring cases in their own right and independently of any person with parental authority? What is the scope of the decision? What effect does a decision have on the underlying case? Strategic choices of forum?


  • WORKSHOPS/ DISCUSSION GROUPS: European & International Avenues of Recourse: (a) European Court of Human Rights; (b) European Committee of Social Rights and (c) Complaints Mechanism under Optional Protocol No 3 of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.

Purpose of the workshops: Training on the key questions concerning admissibility, exhaustion of domestic remedies, type of hearing access to legal assistance, capacity...


SECOND SET OF WORKSHOPS: Child Centred Justice & Multidisciplinary Approaches to Litigation Multi-disciplinarity: the different actors & the different roles they play

  • What that means for initiating & building international & European cases: collecting information on the child’s situation, child protection issues, etc

  • Policy developments & international guidance on the same

  • Perspectives from organisations & actors working with children in litigation

CASE STUDIES FROM LEGAL PROFESSIONALS: Ensuring Child Centred Justice. Exploring Features of European Law & International Law Concerning Separated Children. Bringing Key European Judgements Concerning Separated Children Into Focus.

PANEL DISCUSSIONS on & resources for legal professionals; & Enhancing child centred justice: the path forward

KEY NOTE SPEECH from Judge Ledi Bianku of the European Court of Human Rights

This event is part of the Separated Children in Judicial Proceedings project, the object of which is to build the capacity for legal professionals (including judges) to become more aware of the need for child centred justice in all judicial proceedings involving separated children. The project will also ensure that legal professionals benefit from the knowledge and tools provided so as to ensure that the conduct and outcomes of such proceedings always take full account of the best interests of the child as a primary consideration.


This event is part of the Separated Children in Judicial Proceedings Project, a collaboration between the AIRE Centre in the United Kingdom, Child Circle in Belgium, the Centre for Women War Victims (ROSA) in Croatia and the University College Cork in Ireland. This project is co-funded by the Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme of the European Union.

Co-funded by the REC Program of the European Union,  logos of the AIRE centre, Child Circle,  Rosa, the Child Law clinic, and the university college Cork Ireland

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