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Putting children first? Children’s interests as a primary consideration in public law [2016] CFLQ 45

Date:11 JAN 2016
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Rachel Taylor, Fellow and Tutor in Law, Exeter College, Associate Professor in Law, Oxford University

Keywords: Children’s rights – Article3 UNCRC – best interests – policy making – administrative law

The interests of children have often been neglected in public decision-making, in response the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child requires those children’s interests to be made a ‘primary consideration’ in decisions concerning them. Recent developments in case law and legislation have ensured that this duty is now an established requirement in a wide range of policy areas. Nonetheless, as the breadth of the duty has expanded, so uncertainty about its precise basis and flexibility about its requirements has threatened to undermine its utility. The duty has the potential to improve decision-making for children but only if focus is maintained on the importance of making children’s interests visible in a system designed for adults.

This article was published in Child and Family Law Quarterly in Issue 1, Vol 28, 2016. The final published version of this article is available below under a CC-BY-NC licence.
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