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Fair Trials in Child Protection

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Emergency Protection Orders (Children Act 1989, ss.44–45B) permit the removal or retention of children for their protection for up to eight days and can be granted without notice to the parents or child. Using evidence from a three‐year empirical study, this article explores the impact of the European Convention of Human Rights, articles 6 and 8, on decisions about these orders. Magistrates' Courts are now more reluctant to hear cases without notice to parents, but they shorten the period of notice. This precludes effective representation for parents or children. Where courts are unwilling to hear applications without notice, local authority child protection workers rely on the police to use their powers of police protection (Children Act 1989, s.46). In effect, formal compliance with article 6 undermines the rights of parents and children to participate in decisions about state intervention in the family.

Keywords: Child Protection; Emergency Protection Order; Empirical Research; Fair Trial; Human Rights; Representation

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2006-03-01

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