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Thursday 22nd of October 2020

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The Guidelines on child-friendly justice have been adopted

Friday 19th of November 2010
Juvenile Justice in the world
The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe has adopted the Guidelines on child-friendly justice, right before the Universal Children's Day, November 20. This text aims to assist the Council's 47 Member countries when adapting their justice systems to the specific needs of children, in order to facilitate the access of minors to civil, administrative or criminal justice.

According to the Guidelines, children must be familiar with the court functioning and be informed of court proceedings as well as agents involved in it, to the extent that the child can understand. Moreover, to facilitate the social reintegration of minors, criminal records should not be disclosed when they get the majority. Furthermore, a child should not be deprived of being heard, simply because of its age.

The IJJO is pleased to have been involved, along with its European branch, the European Juvenile Justice Observatory and other organizations in the drafting of the Guidelines, as a member of the Group of Experts in charge of the elaboration of the Guidelines on justice child-friendly.

The 28th Conference of the European Ministers of Justice, which took place in Lanzarote in October 2007, paved a constructive way forward with the adoption by the Ministers of Justice of Resolution No. 2 on child-friendly justice. Further to this Resolution, the Committee of Ministers entrusted the European Committee on Legal Co-operation (CDCJ), the European Committee on Crime Problems (CDPC), the Steering Committee for Human Rights (CDDH) as well as the European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ), in co-operation with other competent bodies of the Council of Europe, with the task of preparing European guidelines on child-friendly justice.

Since April 2009, a group of experts in the field of juvenile justice and children’s rights has been working on the preparation of these European guidelines. The IJJO and its European branch, the European Juvenile Justice Observatory (EJJO), were among the several organizations that make up this Group of experts, through the Participatory Status that IJJO has with the Council of Europe.

The objective of the Group of Experts was to produce comprehensive guidelines on child-friendly justice, which will assist member states in ensuring that children have favourable access to justice. With the aim of giving voice to the children, the Group of experts has drawn up a questionnaire about a child-friendly justice as part of the preparation of the guidelines on a child-friendly justice. This children’s consultation process, through questionnaires, has been essential to reach the vision and the opinion that minors have of justice. The IJJO has officially participated in this consultation process through the dissemination of questionnaires for more than 6 countries in Europe.

The guidelines are designed to contribute to the improvement of the treatment of the child in all circumstances where he or she is, for whatever reason, likely to be brought into contact with civil, administrative or criminal justice. To this end, the guidelines should be built on the existing national, European and international standards and make substantial references to the case law of the European Court of Human Rights. As a concrete tool, the guidelines should offer good practices and propose practical solutions to remedy possible lacunae. They should also cover the situation and voice of the child at all stages of judicial and extrajudicial procedures and promote the rights of information, representation and participation of children. Further, should be noted that these recommendations are particularly relevant to ensuring the rights of minors in conflict with the law, who must see their rights properly respected in the different juvenile justice systems.

Finally, after the adoption of the Guidelines for a child-friendly justice, it is only necessary to ensure their follow-up by the States, in particular, it would be an advance if the EU Member States apply these lines as part of their policies and social justice.


  • International Juvenile Justice Observatory (IJJO). Belgian Public Utility Foundation

    All rights reserved

  • Head Office: Rue Armand Campenhout, nº 72 bte 10. 1050. Brussels. Belgium

    Phone: 00 32 262 988 90. Fax: 00 32 262 988 99. oijj@oijj.org

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