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Separated Children in Judicial Proceedings Project



This Project’s aim is to promote a joined up child-centred approach by legal professionals who work with children separated (or being separated) from their families. It will enable legal practitioners to:

  • share their experiences of the situation of separated children in all the different kinds of legal proceedings which affect them, e.g. taking children into care, contact and residence issues in private law disputes, relocation or abduction, the child victims of trafficking or whose parents are such victims, the effects on children of prisoners of sentencing and sentence management decisions, the situation of minor asylum seekers, including both accompanied and unaccompanied minors, the impact of immigration measures on children. This will enable them to identify the best practices in one field with a view to applying then in another. 
  • learn or expand knowledge of how to use, for the benefit of separated children, the available European and international remedies, such as the European Court of Human Rights, the European Committee on Social Rights and the third Optional Protocol of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child on a Communications Procedure (OP3). Two of the project partner countries - Ireland and Belgium - have accepted the right of individual petition to the Committee on the Rights of the Child under OP3 to that Convention.
  • expand their familiarity with the relevant legislation and case law e.g. EU acquis (legislative and jurisprudential), the ECHR jurisprudence and the case law of the ESC relevant to developing child-centred justice for children in situations where they and their parents or siblings are separated or being separated - for example in situations arising from children seeking international protection as asylum seekers or who are victims of trafficking,  who have been abducted or whose parents are imprisoned in another jurisdiction.

The approaches to children in different judicial proceedings in these situations will be compared and contrasted. It aims to bring together legal professionals ( lawyers, judges or in advice centres, NGOs etc.) from diverse yet overlapping areas of expertise and jurisdictions in order:

  • to build the capacity of legal practitioners and other professionals who work with children in judicial proceedings to become more aware of the need for child-centred justice in all proceedings which involve children who are separated from – or who are being separated from- their families;
  • to discuss how to best put the child at the centre of judicial proceedings which affect them, especially in situations in which they are often not recognised as being central; and
  • to benefit from the exchange of knowledge of comparative law and practice 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.   

We warmly welcome input from everyone who has expertise, experience and ideas of ways in which judicial proceedings can be improved in all the fields mentioned. The project’s usefulness will depend on the participation and contributions of all the professionals involved.


The Project Team

The AIRE Centre (Advice on Individual Rights in Europe) in the United Kingdom, in partnership with  Child Circle in Belgium, Centre for Women War Victims (ROSA) in Croatia and the University College, Cork in Ireland  and is part-funded by the Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme of the European Union. 

This publication has been produced with the financial support of the Rights, Equality and Citizenship (REC) Programme of the European Union. The contents of this publication are the sole responsibility of the AIRE Centre and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Commission.