This report is part of CRIN's access to justice for children project, looking at the status of the CRC in national law, the status of children involved in legal proceedings, the legal means to challenge violations of children’s rights and the practical considerations involved in challenging violations.
Although the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) has been ratified by Australia, it has not been directly incorporated in Australian law by statute and cannot be directly enforced in the courts. However, the provisions of the CRC are an indirect source of rights, and laws must be interpreted to ensure that they are consistent with international obligations under treaties. Generally, court proceedings are initiated not by a child but on behalf of a child by a next friend or a guardian ad litem, who are required to act in the child's best interests. Courts have a broad range of remedies available, especially in judicial review proceedings, which can be brought by non-governmental organisations on behalf of child victims. Special provisions exist to protect child victims and witnesses giving evidence, particularly in sexual offence matters.