The last three decades have seen an explosion of academic, advocacy and policy-maker interest in both the theory and the practice of children’s rights. There is a growing global body of strategic litigation focused on the advancement of those rights through positive legal and/or social change.
In this context, child rights have primarily played an ‘outward-facing’ role: used as a schema that should constrain or mandate the actions of external decision-makers that are the targets of litigation. However, children’s rights have not generally been used as a framework by which to assess, and as necessary, critique strategic litigation practice—i.e. as a lens to be turned inwards by litigators to consider the extent to which their practice is consistent with child rights standards.
This article considers the case for child rights strategic litigation (CRSL) practice that is child rights consistent. In doing so, it identifies CRSL-relevant rights under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and outlines how such rights arise in the litigation process. It ultimately posits that child rights can serve as a clear, multi-faceted framework that enables litigators to strengthen their existing practice in a legitimate, unified and coherent way.
Nolan, A., & Skelton, A. (2022). ‘Turning the Rights Lens Inwards’: The Case for Child Rights-Consistent Strategic Litigation Practice. Human Rights Law Review, 22(4), Article ngac026. https://doi.org/10.1093/hrlr/ngac026