The right of the child to be heard? Professional experiences of child care proceedings in the Irish District Court

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Parkes, Aisling
Shore, Caroline
O'Mahony, Conor
Burns, Kenneth
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Jordan Publishing
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Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989 provides that all children capable of forming views should have those views seriously considered in any decisions that affect them. Once expressed, the views of the child should be afforded due weight in accordance with his or her age and maturity. Every day in Ireland, decisions are made in the District Court concerning where a child will live and who they will live with in cases where their wellbeing is considered to be at risk. In such cases, the child's views should form a key component of the assessment of their best interests. This article presents the findings of a national empirical study which explores the individual perspectives of professionals who are directly involved in such proceedings. In particular, it aims to highlight the extent to which children are actually heard in such cases and whether the current legal framework and its practical implementation are Article 12-compliant. Based on professional experiences, the manner in which children are heard in practice in this adversarial setting will be explored with a view to reform.
Article 12 UNCRC , Child care proceedings , Child participation , Children's rights , Adversarial
Parkes, A.; Shore, C.; O'Mahony, C.; Burns, K. (2015). The Right of the Child to Be Heard: Professional Experiences of Child Care Proceedings in the Irish District Court. Child and Family Law Quarterly 27(4), 423-444.
© Jordan Publishing Limited 2015. Reproduced by permission of RELX (UK) Limited, trading as LexisNexis. This article has been accepted for publication in Child and Family Law Quarterly in Issue 4, Vol 27, Year 2015. The final published version of this article will be published and made publicly available on the Family Law website 24 months after its publication date, under a CC-BY-NC licence.