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Accommodating Children's Rights in a Post Human Rights Act Era

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This article considers why so little case law currently acknowledges that children have recognisable rights under the European Convention on Human Rights and argues that the family courts are not meeting the demands of the Human Rights Act 1998 in this regard. It suggests that a reinterpretation of the ‘paramountcy principle’ in the Children Act 1989 should be accompanied by a radically different judicial approach to evidence relating to children's best interests. The article considers the difficulties that such an approach might produce when applied to teenagers intent on refusing life-saving medical treatment. It further argues that the courts should call on the substantial body of rights jurisprudence to provide legal and moral support for this revised approach.
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Keywords: Human Rights Act; adolescents' life-saving medical treatment; best interests; children's rights; paramountcy principle; the welfare principle

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: King's College London

Publication date: 2006-05-01

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