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.
The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) does not enjoy strong legal standing in Barbadian law - it does not have the authority of national law nor take precedence over conflicting legislation. Nevertheless, a child can file complaints in court about rights violations via his/her "next friend" unless the court permits the child to act without one. In particular, any person, including children, can seek redress in the High Court for violations of fundamental rights under the Constitution. Means-tested legal aid is available for such cases, as well as any other matters involving minors. Complaints can also be brought to the attention of the Ombudsman’s office. After local remedies have been exhausted appeals can be submitted to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Inter-American Court on Human Rights, and Caribbean Court of Justice. While certain requirements exist, it is possible to launch collective action and non-governmental organisations can file and intervene in cases concerning children’s rights violations. Yet, there are many obstacles for children accessing justice in Barbados, especially bureaucracy and heavy backlogs in the courts, and a lack of child-friendly provisions for child victims giving evidence in court.