BELGIUM: 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.

The CRC forms part of Belgium’s domestic law and is frequently invoked in courts, though whether a provision has direct effect in the national legal order depends on whether it is “self-executing”. Children’s rights violations can be challenged in civil, criminal, administrative or constitutional proceedings, or through an ombudsman. In general, children must be represented by their parent/guardian in order to initiate legal proceedings, though some exceptions apply. Furthermore, children who are capable of forming their own views can request to be heard by a court in any proceedings concerning them. Children are entitled to legal aid and are automatically exempted from paying all costs related to judicial or administrative proceedings. Belgium has various child-friendly procedures to assist and protect child victims and witnesses in legal proceedings. As Belgium has also ratified the third Optional Protocol to the CRC, children can submit complaints about violations of their rights to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child once domestic remedies have been exhausted.

Download the full report in English and French.

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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.