Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2803

Article | Open Access

Achieving Child Friendly Justice through Child Friendly Methods: Let’s Start with the Right to Information

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Abstract:  Making the justice process ‘child friendly’ is a key priority for the children’s rights community. An abundance of commentary has been produced by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child to highlight how justice proceedings can be made more accessible for children and, in 2010, the Council of Europe issued its comprehensive ‘Guidelines on Child Friendly Justice’. Despite these efforts, children remain ill-informed, not just about the nature of justice proceedings in which they may be implicated, but about the very existence and scope of their rights and how to enforce them. Despite unequivocal acknowledgement that the availability and accessibility of information is the crucial starting point in a children’s rights-based approach to dispensing justice, there has been surprisingly little attempt to scrutinise the availability, quality and accessibility of information about laws and policies affecting children. This article takes a closer look at what, exactly, ‘child friendly’ information means in practice. In doing so, we argue that attempts to develop child friendly information have yet to progress beyond adult-driven, largely tokenistic and superficial re-branding exercises. As such, efforts to develop child friendly resources are often of limited value in empowering young people to develop their legal literacy and realise their rights in practice. We reflect on our attempt to develop an explicitly children’s rights-based approach to the development of child friendly resources with a view to enhancing their purchase. This took place in the context of a pilot project, commissioned by the Council of Europe in June 2014, to create a child friendly version of their Child Friendly Justice Guidelines.

Keywords:  child friendly; information; justice; online media; participation; right to information



© Helen Stalford, Liam Cairns, Jeremy Marshall. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.