Children's Rights - One Day Conference

Thursday 24 September 2009, 09:30am

Date: Thursday 24 September 2009
Time: 09:30am

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In anticipation of the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, Garden Court Chambers is hosting an all-day conference bringing together lawyers, academics, governmental and non-governmental organisations, and other practitioners concerned with children's rights.

This conference aims to raise the profile of Children's Rights across a broad range of areas, including children in care, child trafficking, criminal justice, immigration, disability, community care, deaths in custody.

Garden Court Chambers has a long-standing commitment both to the representation of children and young people and to the protection and development of their legal rights across a wide range of practice areas.

COST
Delegate rate £125 + VAT (£143.75)
Charities and NGOs Discount £95 + VAT (£109.25) - enter CHAR at checkout
Group bookings
please email seminars@gclaw.co.uk for group discount enquiries of 4 or more delegates.
All prices include conference materials, refreshments during the day and a buffet lunch.

Workshop titles (delegates may choose 1 morning and one afternoon session)

  • Youth Justice Sentencing: morning workshop
  • Children and Disability: morning workshop
  • Voice of the Child in Care:morning workshop
  • Child Trafficking: morning workshop
  • Vulnerable Defendants: fitness to plead & ability to participate at trial: afternoon workshop
  • Deaths / Near-Deaths of Children in State Custody and in the Care of the State: rights, investigatory dutiesand inquests: afternoon workshop
  • Levelling the Playing Field: migrant children in local authority care:afternoon workshop
  • Stranded Children: incongruities in the workings of family and immigration law: afternoon workshop


WORKSHOP 1 - MORNING: Youth Justice Sentencing - Articles 37 & 40
SPEAKERS: Brendan Finnegan, Youth Justice Board 'Scaled Approach and YRO Implementation'

Katy Swaine, Legal Director, Children's Rights Alliance for England 'Youth sentencing and the UN Convention'
Tom Wainwright, Garden Court Chambers 'Recent decisions and trends in youth sentencing'
CHAIR: Shereener Browne, Garden Court Chambers

This workshop will address the questions of what is currently happening in relation to youth sentencing, whether children's rights under the Convention on the Rights of the Child are being respected and what effect the new Youth Rehabilitation Order ('YRO') will have. In particular it will focus on Articles 37 and 40 of the Convention which recognize the rights of children convicted of offences to be dealt with in a manner which takes into account their age, the desirability of promoting their reintegration and assumption of a constructive role in society and which declare that imprisonment should only be used as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time.

The talks will be followed by a discussion of what measures could be taken in relation to common problems faced by young offenders which would better reflect the UK's international obligations. This will be followed by a question and answer session.

WORKSHOP 2 - MORNING: Children and Disability - Article 23
SPEAKERS:
Ruth Scott, Director of Policy and Campaigns at the national disability charity, Scope
Adrian Berry, Garden Court Chambers
Bethan Harris, Garden Court Chambers

A discussion of how the UK fares under Article 23 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child which guarantees rights for children with disabilities and related provisions under the newly ratified UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, in relation to community care and housing for children with disabilities and their families. The workshop will include an assessment of recent legal developments in these areas, and will examine the significance of the Conventions and the extent to which they make a difference legally or politically.

WORKSHOP 3 - MORNING: Voice of the Child in Care - Article 12
SPEAKERS
: Nicola Wylde, Legal and Policy Manager, Voice
Alison Grief, Garden Court Chambers

How is a child's voice heard when they are in the care of the state? Are there sufficient mechanisms in place to safeguard these most vulnerable children in our society? Who is there to advocate on their behalf when it comes to their wishes and feelings, their right to see their families, their particular educational needs, and getting them the therapeutic help they so often require? How can we best assist these children now and what needs to change? An interactive session to examine the issues, give practical advice and make proposals for change.

WORKSHOP 4 - MORNING: Child Trafficking - Articles 11, 22, 32, 33, 34, 35 & 36
SPEAKERS:
Young person, Child Trafficking Advice & Information Line Young People's Advisory Group
Nadine Finch, Garden Court Chambers
Sam Momtaz, Garden Court Chambers

This workshop will assess the scale of the problem and what we mean by trafficking; consider two international legal instruments drafted to combat trafficking (the UN Palermo Protocol of 2000 and the Council of Europe Convention against Trafficking in Human Beings); consider the relevant articles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child; discuss the effectiveness of the UK's Action Plan on human trafficking and its National Referral Mechanism and look to the future to assess what more can be done to combat trafficking in both national and international terms. The workshop will also provide a unique insight from the perspective of a victim of trafficking which will demonstrate the tragic human cost of this awful practice.

WORKSHOP 1 - AFTERNOON: Vulnerable Defendants: fitness to plead & ability to participate at trial - Articles 3, 37 & 40
SPEAKERS:
Shauneen Lambe, Director, Just for Kids Law
Dr. Matt Woolgar, MA, PhD, DClinPsy (Chartered Clinical Psychologist)
Maya Sikand, Barrister, Garden Court Chambers

A pre-requisite to Articles 3, 37(3) and 40 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child must be that children and young people within the criminal justice system, who are particularly vulnerable due to their level of intellectual functioning and/or mental ill-health, have their disability recognized, are treated fairly and have their need for care and protection addressed. Almost 10 years on from T. v. U.K. [2000] Crim.L.R. 187; V. v. U.K.,30 E.H.R.R. 121, this workshop will address the current treatment of young defendants who are unfit to plead or to effectively participate in their trial. From discussing how to identify those who are or might be unfit to plead or effectively participate in the trial process, to guidance on the assessment process and obtaining expert opinion, to practical and legal considerations, the workshop will assess each stage in the process in the light of state obligations under the Convention. We will examine procedures both in the Youth Court and Crown Court, together with developments in practice and case-law (S.C. v UK (2004) 40 EHRR 10 and R (T.P.) v West London Youth Court [2005] EWHA 2583).

WORKSHOP 2 - AFTERNOON: Deaths / Near-Deaths of Children in State Custody and in the Care of the State: rights, investigatory duties and inquests - Articles 6, 25 & 37
SPEAKERS:
Deborah Coles, INQUEST
Leslie Thomas, Garden Court Chambers
Kirsten Heaven, Garden Court Chambers

Recent deaths of children in the care of social services and in custody (often following restraint) have reignited the debate on the treatment of children in the care of the state. This session will look at the scope of the state's duties in respect of such children under both the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Articles 6, 25 and 37, and the ECHR, the scope of the state's investigatory obligations following deaths or near deaths and the ongoing work of INQUEST in these areas

WORKSHOP 3 - AFTERNOON: Levelling the Playing Field: migrant children in local authority care - Articles 3, 12, 24, 27 & 28
SPEAKERS:
Dragan Nastic, UK Policy, Parliamentary and Legal Officer, UNICEF
Adrian Matthews, Senior Policy Development Officer, 11 Million, Office of the Children's Commissioner for England
Laura Brownless, Researcher, Levelling the Playing Field
Nadine Finch, Garden Court Chambers

This workshop will describe the preliminary findings of research being carried out into the ability of unaccompanied, separated and trafficked children to access quality services (including social services, health, education and housing) in three different local authority areas. It will also consider the work undertaken by the Office of the Children's Commissioner for England in relation to the needs of these migrant children.

WORKSHOP 4 - AFTERNOON: Stranded Children: incongruities in the workings of family and immigration law - Articles 2, 3, 7 - 12 & 18- 23
SPEAKERS
: Kathryn Cronin, Garden Court Chambers
Maggie Jones, Garden Court Chambers

This workshop concerns the operation of family and immigration law. The focus will be on international adoptions and surrogacy arrangements and the immigration and family law difficulties which can arise in such cases. There are significant incongruities between immigration and international family laws. Stranded children are a consequence of mis-matched family and immigration laws and arrangements. The workshop will provide examples of recurring case studies where 'parents' are resident in the UK but their adopted or surrogate children are refused entry to join them.

The workshop will also look at the broader issue of fragmented families and 'stranded children', whether international human rights laws can assist to secure children's entry and stay and whether consular or other laws provide parents with a mechanism to insist that there should be proper assistance for and expedition in the visa processing for these fragmented and split families. The workshop is concerned with Articles 2,3,7,8, 9,10,11,12 and 18-23 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

KEYNOTE SPEAKER: Geraldine Van Bueren: Professor of International Human Rights Law at Queen Mary, University of London and Visiting Fellow, Kellogg College, Oxford, one of the drafters of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and a winner of the UNICEF Child Rights Lawyer Award

PLENARY SESSION SPEAKERS: Kate Green (Chief Executive Child Poverty Action Group), Dr Jenny Kuper (London School of Economics), Dragan Nastic (UK Policy, Parliamentary and Legal Officer, UNICEF UK), Sam Dimmock (Head of Policy and Public Affairs, Children's Rights Alliance for England). CHAIR: Jo Delahunty QC (Garden Court Chambers)

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