AUSTRIA: Access to justice for children

This report is part of CRIN's access to justice for children project, looking at the status of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (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.

Austria ratified the CRC on 6 August 1992 with several reservations. It has also ratified the Optional Protocols to the CRC on the involvement of children in armed conflict and on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, in 2002 and 2004 respectively and it has signed but not yet ratified the third Optional Protocol on a communications procedure. The CRC does not take precedence over national laws, although they are interpreted when possible in a manner consistent with the Convention. Certain elements of the CRC have been implemented into national law by the Federal Children’s Rights Law. Children’s rights violations can be challenged before various courts and before the European Court of Human Rights. Children usually have to be represented by an adult; however, children aged 7 and over can petition the court in relation to contracts to which they are a party (i.e. contracts that benefit the child without imposing any obligations on them). Legal aid is available for people who cannot bear the cost of litigation without threatening their minimum subsistence level. As a general rule, periods of limitation do not start running until the individual can assert their right. Special procedures are in place to protect the child witness in both civil and criminal cases.

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Please note that these reports are hosted by CRIN as a resource for Child Rights campaigners, researchers and other interested parties. Unless otherwise stated, they are not the work of CRIN and their inclusion in our database does not necessarily signify endorsement or agreement with their content by CRIN.